One Résumé at a Time: Five Tips for Job Hunting in Recovery

Going to a job interview can be daunting in the best of circumstances. Now that you’re in recovery from addiction, you may bring a whole host of other concerns to the interview, like how to discuss the lapses in your résumé. As you prepare for your next job application and interview process, here are five tips to keep in mind to help you land the job.

  1. Recognize negative thoughts.

    Reflexive, self-deprecating or pessimistic thoughts can do a lot of harm. Negative thoughts like, “I won’t get this job anyway,” or “They probably don’t want someone like me,” may be a defensive technique to avoid getting your hopes up only to be dashed, yet again, but those thoughts do not serve you. Turning those thoughts around by reframing them in the positive, such as, “They would be lucky to have me at this job,” will boost your confidence in a way everyone will be able to see. You are in recovery now and you deserve to work at a place that will appreciate that you have the gumption and capacity to change your life, which means you have a lot of stick-to-it-iveness to bring to a job. Employers appreciate appropriate confidence.

  1. Divide and conquer.

    One daunting part of applying to and interviewing for jobs is the large amount of unknown usually associated with a new work environment. Do you really have the skills to do the job for which you are applying? Meet the challenges you’re facing by identifying your overall task, then breaking it down into small, manageable parts. You’re more likely to feel prepared and the confidence this gives you will show.

  1. Accept some setbacks.

    At the end of the day, there a million reasons why a company might hire another person for a job you’re interested in that have absolutely nothing to do with you. Just like any relationship, the company you’d like to work for brings their own context and experiences to the hiring table, and many of those you just won’t be able to foresee. Next time you’re passed up for a job go easy on yourself. There are other companies and you’ll find a great place to work.

  1. Be proud of who you are when job hunting

    You may not have every qualification on your prospective employer’s wish list for the job, but you should know that almost no one will. Confidence in yourself goes a long way in projecting ability to your future employer. And while you may be sweating your lack of credentials, in entering recovery from a person with substance use disorderion you’ve already gone above and beyond what many people think they can do. Never forget that!

  1. Take a job while you look for something else.

    It’s a lot easier to get work when you already have something. The first job you pick up in recovery may not be your dream job, but take it anyway. Showing that you are willing to work, to show up on time and to give a little extra impresses employers and builds your confidence. Continue to look for the work you really want while you are building your résumé and bringing in a paycheck.

Prolonged periods of unemployment and continual job hunting can wear down even the most confident person. By recognizing your own negative self-talk, preparing as best you can, being proud of who you are and accepting setbacks as they come, you will shore up your ability to stay in the search for as long as it takes to find the work that has meaning for you and in which you will thrive.


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