You are the sum of the people you surround yourself with

Nick KossovanAll job searches have two constantly moving components:

  1. You
  2. The people you associate with

While “you” is undeniably the most critical component, and the one job seekers tend to focus on – themselves – the people you associate with significantly impact your job search.

Your most valuable tool for experiencing a better job search is other people. According to research by social psychologist Dr. David McClelland of Harvard, the people you habitually associate with determine as much as 95 percent of your success or failure.

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The people you surround yourself with have considerable influence over your behaviour, attitudes, and results. You are shaped by the people you choose to associate with; what they have got you thinking, saying, doing, and becoming determines your future. This is especially true when it comes to job searching.

Whom you hang out with affects you in at least five ways.

  1. Their views can change yours.
  2. They either encourage or discourage you.
  3. They shape your habits and behaviours.
  4. In their presence, you may feel positive or negative emotions.
  5. They affect your self-esteem and happiness levels.

Right now, you are the sum of the people you surround yourself with. What role do they play if they do not support and believe in you?

It is a fact of life that some people hold us back while others propel us forward. For example, hanging out with negative people will not help you achieve a positive life.

Ask yourself this: How many limitations do you feel the people in your life put on you and your potential? If the answer is anything but “zero,” then you need to seriously consider some of your relationships.

When someone says you cannot do something, they really mean they cannot do it. It is common for people to set limits on themselves to protect themselves from disappointment when they fail. They then believed that by sharing their limitations with you, they are helping you. Consequently, they will feel threatened if you challenge their limitations or prove them wrong.

Is your circle of family and friends bringing out the best in you, personally and professionally? How supportive are they as you search for a job? Support is most important when you are looking for a job.

The last thing you need are questions such as:

  • “Do you have any interviews coming up?”
  • “Did you ever hear back from that interview you had last month?”
  • “Why don’t you apply at a coffee shop, a fast food joint or a retail store?”
  • “Why do you think it’s taking so long?”

…or comments like:

  • “You need to get out there and pound the pavement.”
  • “I hear tech and nursing are hot fields right now!”
  • “You need to treat your job search like a full-time job.”
  • “At least you have a lot of free time now.”

If you have kids, you have undoubtedly worried about them joining the wrong crowd, as I am sure your parents had the same worry for you. That is because, as a parent, you know whom your kids spend time with greatly influences their moods and how they view the world and themselves. Parents instinctively know that the power of proximity can positively or negatively impact their children. In adulthood, proximity still affects your moods, views, and self-expectations.

When the people in your life, whether family or friends, are not supporting your job search and bringing out the best in you, you need to make some relationship adjustments, which will significantly help you succeed in your job search.

  • Assess your current relationships (family, friends, and acquaintances)

What does your current circle look like? Do the people you spend time with now support you and actively help you reach your goals?

  • Eliminate negativity

It is impossible to be positive 100 percent of the time. It is okay to have a bad day now and then. However, if you regularly engage with people who thrive on negativity, it will eventually drain you of your own energy and happiness, both of which you need when searching for a new job.

  • Switch directions

Nothing will accelerate your job search success more than reaching out to companies you want to work for and those who hold the position you aspire to. Take a deep breath and invite them to coffee or lunch. Tell them why you have contacted them and want to talk with them. Ask for their insight, advice, or guidance.

If you are not already surrounding yourself with positive, successful people who inspire, challenge, support and push you to step outside your comfort zone, which is how you land the dream jobs, then it is time to make a change now.

Not tomorrow. Today.

Ask yourself honestly whether the people you surround yourself with are helping you or hindering you from achieving your job search goals in the months ahead.

A universal truth: When you surround yourself with the right people, everything in your life will improve, not just your job search.

Nick Kossovan, a well-seasoned veteran of the corporate landscape, offers advice on searching for a job.

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