Career Resources

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Meditate Your Way to a New Job

Recently, I had an interview for a contract career counseling position at a university in Boston. As I was getting ready that morning, I remarked to my daughter that I wasn't nervous at all! I had, however, been on other recent interviews where I experienced some feelings of nervousness in the days and moments leading up to my interview. Sometimes I hadn't slept well the night before, worrying that I might not hear the alarm clock ring or that I might get lost on my way there, etc. etc.

What was the difference this time? Well, I had just come back from spending a weekend at Kripalu where I had taken several yoga classes and meditation workshops. I hadn't gone there with the intention of preparing for my upcoming interview on Monday. I had simply gone there for some R&R and to be engulfed in the panoramic beauty of the Berkshires.

Most people understand that meditation will make you more calm, but I experienced other benefits as well on my interview. I felt confident and focused. I was able to be personable and make small talk with ease. I answered unexpected interview questions confidently and articulately. My mood was happy, positive and energetic throughout.

According to an article published in the February issue of Time, mindfulness and meditation are quickly becoming more mainstream in US businesses and schools. In fact, "Google has an in-house mindfulness program called Search Inside Yourself where employees learn "attention-focusing techniques, including meditation...for creativity and big thinking" and "Apple co-founder Steve Jobs said his meditation practice was directly responsible for his ability to concentrate and ignore distractions." So mindfulness is not just great for improving your interview performance - it can also be extremely beneficial once you are employed.

A lot of people (including myself a few years ago) tend to think that meditation and mindfulness are mysterious techniques reserved for yogis who sit cross-legged on padded cushions chanting "Om" all day. I was constantly worried that I wasn't doing it right. But then I took a mediation class and realized that meditation can be as simple as breathing in and out and being aware of your breath. You don't need a special room or a special cushion to do it. However, if you need some assistance to get you started, there are lots of podcasts and CD's available incorporating all sorts of meditative techniques. Don't get turned off from meditation if the first thing you try doesn't resonate with you. Keep exploring until you find the one that does.

Well, it turned out that I got the job offer at the university. The same can happen for you. In addition to doing all of the things you typically do to prepare for an interview, try adding a 10-15 minute meditation the night before or day of your big interview. You just might be pleasantly surprised by the outcome.

1 comment:

Dean Wilson Blog said...

Hey Deb,

Congratulations on your offer. I would love to get together and catch up soon.