Let’s face it — job searching is stressful. So if anything can be done to help bring positive energy to the experience, it’s worth exploring. That’s why the practice of feng shui is so intriguing. While feng shui may seem like something you do when decorating your house, its applications can extend beyond the abode and into your job search.
According to the Encarta World English Dictionary, feng shui is “a Chinese system that studies people’s relationships to their environment, especially their home or workspace, in order to achieve maximum harmony with the spiritual forces believed to influence all places.”
“Feng shui is about how the space you live and work in affects your mood, energy level and your decisions,” says Donna Stellhorn, feng shui expert and author of “2012: Year of the Water Dragon.” “By making the appropriate changes to your physical environment, you shift the energy flow and prime your subconscious to recognize success opportunities.”
Stellhorn notes that when it comes to the job hunt, it’s easy to feel down and defeated by what seem like insurmountable obstacles. “To protect ourselves from these obstacles, we can set up blocks to new opportunities. We may not feel these blocks, only those opportunities seem to stop coming. By making feng shui changes, we stimulate the energy so the opportunities can come again.”
So how can job seekers benefit from feng shui? Stellhorn shares the following five tips to help bring balance and positivity to your job search:
1. Avoid horizontal lines on your résumé or cover letter. “Horizontal lines break up the flow of energy, giving the reader a chance to look away — the same way we may close a book when we come to the end of a chapter,” Stellhorn says. “Horizontal lines may cause the reader to pause to check email or answer the phone, and once their attention is lost they may not return to finish reading your résumé.”
2. Choose paragraphs over lists. Stellhorn says that if you’re pursuing a position that requires certain expertise, try using paragraphs instead of just bullet points. “Studies show we have an internal clock that judges the amount of time it takes us to scan information. The longer we linger, the more complex it seems. A paragraph gives the impression of more in-depth knowledge and a stronger skill set.” Conversely, Stellhorn says that if you’re applying for a position requiring people or sales skills, bullet points work well, because they exude the energy of being more straightforward and easy to understand.
3. Focus your energy on interviewing. After applying for a position, Stellhorn suggests blocking out a few dates and times on your calendar when you’re available for interviews. “Make a point of marking them in your calendar, and picture how the company will contact you. By focusing your intent on getting the interview, you call the energy of opportunity to you.” And no matter what happens, a little positive thinking never hurt anyone.
4. Choose your interview clothes wisely. When picking an outfit for an interview, Stellhorn recommends choosing clothes based on the position for which you’re applying. She suggests wearing darker colors when interviewing for a management position, as black and navy indicate a person of power and authority. Lighter colors — grays, tans and creams — are good for a supporting role, because they can indicate a person who is willing to work hard. “If the job involves communication, consider wearing blues; if it involves making quick decisions, then wear red; if it’s financial, consider wearing charcoal.”
5. Be mindful of your movements. Stellhorn says that during an interview, job seekers should be cognizant of their body language. Men should avoid folding their hands in their lap, because this may send a subconscious message that they’re feeling threatened. “Women should avoid playing with their jewelry during the interview. This can be seen as covering up a lie.”
While there’s no silver bullet when it comes to conducting a successful job search, integrating feng shui may just help you better focus on your future.