Avoiding Perfectionism in Your Job Search

By TalentEgg Student and New Grad Careers Modified on November 19, 2023
Tags : Business | Careers | Money

Professional? Check! Perfect? Maybe not. Stay open and reflect on your mistakes to move forward with your budding career.

Avoiding Perfectionism in Your Job Search

This article was originally written by Lindsay Meister for TalentEgg.ca.

Front-end perfectionism makes it difficult to start a task for fear that you won't be able to do it "perfectly." It's often associated with an intense fear of criticism and can result in feelings of failure and shame.

If the fear of not being perfect for your next job is holding you back — this article is for you! Let's review four strategies you can harness to prepare you for your next job opportunity. Here are four strategies to address front-end perfectionism:

1. Reflect on what you have to offer

Front-end perfectionism often obscures our self-awareness regarding our existing skills and knowledge. Consequently, we may hesitate to apply for a job unless we meet all the criteria.

To address this, allocate some time for introspection regarding your qualifications as a potential employee. Delve into your academic background: what subjects did you study, and what expertise did you gain? Consider the projects you've successfully undertaken and your proficiency in soft skills, like:

  • communication
  • time management
  • creative thinking
  • problem-solving

Moreover, don't underestimate the value of your previous work or volunteer experiences. Many accomplished individuals started their careers with minimum-wage positions. It's the old story of "I started my career in the mail room."

2. Stay open to learning

Sometimes, the fear of criticism can stop us from being open to learning in a new job. We might feel pressured to know everything immediately and doubt our ability to succeed in a new role.

But remember, it's okay and normal for new employees to have a lot to learn in the beginning. Being open to learning is a valuable skill that will make you a better employee in the long run.

Moreover, embracing a learning mindset can make your job experience more enjoyable. Work becomes less stressful and more fulfilling when you're open to learning and trying new things. You'll discover unique strengths and abilities you never knew you had. So, don't let the fear of criticism hold you back — dive into new challenges with curiosity, and you'll be surprised at how much you can achieve.

3. Escape your comfort zone

Staying within our comfort zone prevents us from taking risks, developing new skills, and growing within our profession. We may dismiss job opportunities if they include specific tasks or projects that are new or challenging. However, a ton of growth can happen when we push ourselves even a little bit beyond our level of comfort. Leaning into the learning curve can help you to achieve your potential.

4. Embrace failure

You can occasionally make mistakes when embarking on a new field or position. Likewise, the job search can be fiercely competitive, and even individuals with extensive education and skills may encounter rejection.

Fostering a readiness to view your failures as opportunities for personal and professional development will expand your horizons. Didn't secure the job you interviewed for? That's perfectly fine — you've gained valuable experience interviewing for that role and can apply the lessons learned in your subsequent job interview.


Holding yourself back from opportunities because you don't think you can do them perfectly can limit your potential for growth and success in your career. Knowing what you have to offer, pushing yourself, and being willing to learn and grow from mistakes can propel you toward bigger and better job opportunities.

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