By Ruth Umoh
CNBC, March 28, 2018 —
Getting fired, laid off or quitting a job can be a major stressor and often leads people to feel worried or anxious.
“It can be traumatic and a major loss. Almost like a death,” says psychologist Cicely Horsham-Brathwaite.
Joblessness can also impact your self-confidence, she tells CNBC Make It, and can create a “major shift” in your identity that was previously tied to the job.
This can deeply impact your hiring potential for future jobs, especially if you don’t take the time to mentally and emotionally prepare yourself. In fact, the psychologist says that failing to do so results in candidates applying to jobs that are not necessarily the best fit, getting stuck in the job search or even tanking an interview because they are still affected by their job loss.
“People want to push the emotion away and it shows in an interview that you’re not in the best headspace,” says Horsham-Brathwaite, who has more than 15 years of experience helping clients excel in their personal and professional lives.
She says those in between jobs can perform five mental exercises to prep for your next interview:
1. Confront negative emotions
The psychologist says that it’s crucial to process all of your thoughts and emotions, especially the negative ones. “Dump them on a piece of paper and identify those feelings,” she says.
If you don’t want to write them out, you can also speak to someone, whether it’s a friend or counselor, she says. But by actively working your way through your emotions and identifying the ones that are holding you back, it helps you clear your head and lowers the intensity of those negative feelings.
2. Imagine your future job
“Sit down and write out what life would look like if you were reemployed,” says the psychologist. Brainstorm what it would take to get there and how you see your career in the future.
“This helps construct a vision of yourself in a positive manner,” says Horsham-Brathwaite. Plus, concentrating on your future plan is a problem-solving strategy that will allow you to focus on finding solutions to the complex issues you are currently facing.
3. Visualize the perfect interview
Imagine how your ideal interview would go and write that down. Then practice a run-through of that interview and look for places where you can tweak and perfect it, says Horsham-Brathwaite.
The psychologist explains that this “increases your sense of control over a highly stressful situation.” Practicing the perfect interview also boosts your confidence and prepares you for the real deal when the time comes.
4. Figure out the lesson learned
Every negative circumstance comes with a lesson, says the psychologist, and it’s up to you to figure out what it means. Ask yourself if a recent job loss was meant for your highest good, she explains, which may very well be the case.
In fact, many highly successful people were fired or laid off at some point in their careers. Apple founder Steve Jobs was even kicked out of his own companuy during its early years.
The psychologist notes that by looking for that silver lining, you are better able to reframe a bad situation in a positive manner. This also ensures that “you’re not grounded in negative thoughts,” she says. “So figure out a meaning that resonates with your beliefs in life.”
5. Simply relax
“Take some time to get into a state of deep relaxation,” suggests the psychologist.
While some people like Richard Branson enjoy island vacations to relax, others like Arianna Huffington prefer meditation and mindfulness.
Regardless of how you choose to relax, taking the time to unwind and de-stress will “open up your mind and emotions in a more deep and profound way,” says Horsham-Brathwaite.
She adds that by following these five steps you will also be able to “become reemployed faster.”