Jul 30, 2020 in Career Coaching

How a Lack of Self-Awareness Can Hinder You from Landing a Job

Self-awareness is essential to every job-seeker.

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Self-Awareness: a sharp realization of your personality, including your strengths and weaknesses, your thoughts and beliefs, your emotions, and your motivations. - Develop Good Habits

I once coached a recent grad who was determined to land a job in the finance/banking industry. She came to me after almost giving up hope as she just could not land a job.

She (let's call her Sarah for the sake of this article) was a straight-A student with a spectacular GPA, who was actively involved in student-run organizations throughout her college career yet, she just could not land a job after she graduated. She had applied to multiple job openings and sent her resume to numerous recruiters and would often hear nothing back. If she did get to the interview round she was never called back or chosen.

Something was wrong.

The first thing I asked Sarah to do when we began working together was to tell me her strengths, weaknesses, passions and dislikes. This was difficult for her to articulate and in that instant I recognized the problem. Sarah was not self-aware. I proceeded to have her do some self-reflection and hone in on what she was really good at and the areas which she was not as skilled.

I discovered a theme that had come up with many other people I had coached in the past and that was a lack of self-awareness. The truth is that unless you really know yourself as a job-seeker you cannot coherently articulate to an interviewer or potential employer why they should hire you.

Self-awareness as it relates to job-seekers is the art of knowing yourself - your values, skills, strengths, weaknesses, passions, likes and dislikes. It is understanding yourself to the point where you are comfortable with both your strong points and your pain areas. It is brutal honesty.

I believe there are 3 things relating to self-awareness that hinder people from landing jobs:


  1. Not knowing your strengths, weaknesses, passions, and desires can lead to you feeling lost or overwhelmed during the job application process.
  2. Sending your resume to any and every job that "looks good" even when your skillset and prior experience do not even closely match the job description (I call this overshooting).
  3. Not knowing how to sell your strengths, skills and passions to the potential employer.

If a person is self-aware, not only will they begin to discover jobs that match their skillsets and passions closely and apply specifically to those, they will also be able to effectively sell themselves more efficiently thus greatly increasing their chances of landing a job.

Working with Sarah to become more self-aware enabled her to soon after land what she terms her "dream job!" All because she knew & understood herself.

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