What is Imposter Syndrome and is it affecting your job search?
Tips And Advice
Feeling like you don't have a clue what you're doing; that you don't deserve to be where you are; that you only got the job because you got lucky; and that everyone around you will sooner (or later) start to realise it, is what's known as "Imposter Syndrome" or "The Imposter Phenomenon".
(Oxford English Dictionary)
If you suffer with Imposter Syndrome it can easily affect your job search and career trajectory. It can make you think you don't deserve your success and that you'll never get that dream job.
However you don't have to let this monster win!
Ask those around you - your boss, mentor or colleagues... even friends and family - what they respect and admire about you. It's often surprising (and uplifting).
Make notes of your accomplishments, track your efforts - and if you're ever feeling like you don't deserve to be in the kick-ass shoes you're wearing, just look at these notes and remember why you are where you are.
Some of the common signs of Imposter Syndrome according to Very Well Mind include:
There are 5 main types of Imposter Syndrome. Each one has it's own character and can be dealt with in different ways. It's good to take time to understand which tendancies you engage in so that you can stop, recognise and adjust your behaviour accordingly. We're not saying it's easy, but it is important!
Most importantly, remember you're not alone.
Set high, often unreachable, goals and are left feeling disappointed and frustrated when they fail to reach them. Have difficulty delegating. Experience major self-doubt - yet feel like they must do a task themselves to ensure it is done right. Can micro-manage. They will accuse themselves of not being 'cut out' for their job and these thoughts will play on their mind for days, if not longer.
This is not a productive way of working and can cause burnout.
How to Quiet the inner 'Perfectionist'
Convinced they're a phony amongst the 'real deal' they will push themselves to work longer and harder than their colleagues in order to measure up. They feel like they haven't earned their place (regardless of education, experience or expertise) so feel the need to prove themselves to others.
Their insecurities will often cause work overload and can harm their mental health.
How to Quiet the inner 'Super'
Can feel shame if they take a long time to master a task as they judge their competence to be based on how easy they find something, not how much effort they've put in. As with a Perfectionist, they can set an impossibly high bar for themselves, however they will also judge themselves on getting something done first time. They're very used to excelling without much effort, probably achieved very high grades in school/college/uni and dislike being offered help (and therefore avoid difficult tasks).
How to Quiet the inner 'Genius'
Dislike asking for help in case others 'see through them' and will often refuse help when it is offered.
How to Quiet the inner 'Soloist'
Think they need to know everything otherwise they cannot possibly be an expert. Worry that they will actually never know enough and fear being exposed as a fraud. Will seek out additional certifications to prove their expertise and will often shy away from applying for a job unless they tick every single requirement.
They can often procrastinate by seeking to learn vs just doing.
How to Quiet the inner 'Expert'
If you're looking for a new job or a career move quieten the inner monologue which is telling you you're not good enough.
Celebrate your successes and own your failures. Look at things differently. Reframe your thoughts. Take control. Make small changes. Find success.
Michelle Obama opens up about imposter sydrome (Independent)
What Is Imposter Syndrome? (Very Well Mind)
How you can use impostor syndrome to your benefit (Mike Cannon-Brookes, TED)
Stephen Gates, Head of Design Transformation at InVision (WillowTreeApps)
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