Staying Positive and in the Game When Your Job Search Stalls
In the world of job hunting, the process of receiving responses to your resumes, scheduling interviews, getting call-backs, and, finally, getting an offer can be very slow. At certain times of the year, specifically late summer and the holidays, it might seem as if there’s no one hiring out there. It’s understandable why you might want to give up on your job search, especially after waiting for an extended period just to find out if there’s any interest.
If you can maintain a positive attitude during your job search, you will help yourself stay motivated to keep your efforts moving forward. A positive attitude can also come across in interviews and networking opportunities, increasing your chances of making a strong first impression. Following are our tips, strategies and words of encouragement to help you keep your chin up and get through those long waits for a phone call or email response.
First, Refuse to Throw in the Towel!
Tell yourself that you will get through this and commit to keeping your eye on the “prize.” By staying in the job hunting game, you can be confident you will eventually reach your end-goal.
Recall Strategies From Past Challenges
Look at how you dealt with situations in the past that also required endurance, focus and patience, such as trying to improve at a particular sport or resolving a complicated problem. Using the coping mechanisms you applied to those circumstances should help you realize that you can --- and will --- get through this current challenge as well.
Focus on Things You Can Control
Instead of waiting for the phone to ring or worrying about not receiving a response to an email, take action. Think about the things you can do to impact your job search and move it along, such as reaching out to a contact referred by a friend, taking a course to strengthen a required skill or figuring out how to use LinkedIn to full advantage.
Develop a Daily Routine
Set a start and end time for your job search each day (perhaps 9-5, treating it like a regular job). This will keep you organized, focused and productive for a specific period of time, but also give you time outside of your job search for family, friends, exercise and other destressing activities. Since unemployment allows you to have a flexible schedule, do your job search on an evening or weekend sometimes so you can take a weekday off to do the things you can’t do when you have regular work hours, such as have lunch with a friend or go on your child’s school field trip. Focusing on and worrying about your job search 24/7 will only increase your stress and prevent you from enjoying other areas of your life.
Find Activities That Give You a Sense of Purpose
Do some volunteer work and other activities that will also make you feel purpose-driven while possibly helping you reach your job search goals. Volunteer work for a relevant organization or a cause you are passionate about can add to your current experience and keep your skills sharp. Taking up an activity or project focused on self-improvement (such as some form of exercise or learning a new skill) can enhance your emotional health and well-being. Starting or joining a job search club, Meetup or a networking group can provide added help with making connections, learning about job search tips, techniques and leads, and getting much-needed moral support. When engaging in these other activities, make sure to surround yourself with people who also have the positive mindset.
Don’t Dwell on a Particular Opportunity
It’s easy to get fixated on a job you really want and wait eagerly for a response from the employer. While you want to keep track of the jobs to which you apply, and contact an employer if you do not receive a response in a reasonable amount of time, you need to keep looking for and pursuing new opportunities. Then, if you do not receive a response or an offer from that employer, it’s easier to cross that job off your list and move on to the next opportunity.
Remind Yourself of What You Bring to the Table
It’s helpful to your job search to create a list of all your skills, talents and accomplishments, as it can come in handy for writing cover letters and preparing for interviews. You should make a point of reviewing this list on a regular basis, especially if you’re getting down about a lack of progress with your job search. By reminding yourself what makes you a good job candidate and a unique person, you’ll boost your confidence and maintain that positive attitude as you continue through the job search process.
View the Job Search as an Experience and an Opportunity
By going through the process of researching the companies you will be applying to, writing cover letters, going to interviews and networking, you’ll become a better job candidate. Each cover letter is a chance to hone your writing and editing skills; each interview is a chance to network and improve your interviewing skills; and each networking event is a chance to meet new people who could become valuable career connections in the future.
Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Help
It’s easy to feel alone in your job pursuit, especially if you’re the only one in your circle of friends and family who is out there looking. Since many in your circle have very likely been where you are, don’t be afraid to seek out their support, encouragement and advice. If necessary, get in touch with a career coach. By talking to others, you can get those pep talks you need to summon new energy and stay in the game.
Set Goals and Celebrate Positive Results
Set specific, achievable goals each week, such as sending five resumes and cover letters - as meeting these goals will give you a sense of accomplishment. Celebrate small victories, such as getting a phone interview or making a new connection. Focusing on the good things that happen will keep you positive, and staying positive will eventually reap positive results.
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