Worn Down

Dear Jewish Fairy Godmother:

I’ve been unemployed for a long time and am feeling discouraged and
desperate for a paycheck. I have a job interview next week, but how
can I possibly project optimism and confidence with my current
Worn Down

Dear Worn Down:
What you’re going to need is a combination of optimism, energy, and
self-esteem. There’s lots of ways to create the right octane for your
tank, not least of which will be saying your prayers and a good shot of
high-quality caffeine the morning of your interview. But the most
important ingredient to this re-energizing recipe will be for you to
remember how good you are at what you do. And to do so in a way
that will allow your confidence and competence to shine through like a
bright light, in a way that will interest and inspire your interviewers.
Just like dating, there’s very little that’s an unattractive as
desperation. You’re going to need to overcome any residual sense of
despair that’s set in and turn it around convincingly.

Start by freshening up your wardrobe. If you can afford a new scarf or
new tie, do that. If not, wash and press your interview outfit. Shine
your shoes. Wear your lucky sox or earrings. Practice the answers to
the most common questions: Why are you the best person for us to
pick? What are your greatest strengths, weaknesses, and
accomplishments? What do you want to be doing a year, three, five
years from now? Why this job in this firm?
Come in with questions of your own: What’s the history of this
position? Why is it being filled now? Short- and longer-run
expectations of the new hire? Training and mentoring? Room for
growth? Their biggest hopes and concerns? Your goal, and what you
should say explicitly, is to be perceived as someone as interested as
they are in finding a good long-term fit, in finding a place that will
benefit from your skills and experience, and that will inspire both and
the employer to maximize chances to do good work and mutually
profit. If you practice that kind of prep and self-talk, your sense of the
future will maximize itself and the weariness and doldrums will
dissipate. Good luck. It’s going to break right for you soon.