Staying Positive During Your Job Search

November 26th, 2013

Hunting for employment is full time work with no pay, no benefits, and no coworkers to commiserate with in the break room. It’s a tough gig, but it’s temporary, and maintaining a positive attitude is critical to landing your next great job.

Whether you’ve been on the hunt for a week, a month, or longer, there are a few things you can do to keep your spirits up.

Create space. If you have a desk in your home, now is the time to clear out the clutter and start fresh. If you don’t have an official desk, a folding card table, dinner tray, or even a bookshelf will do. Just make sure it has room for you to keep yourself organized.

Put on real clothes. Nothing can bring a person down faster than spending all day, every day, in their pajamas. You don’t have to put on a suit, but make a habit of showering and dressing every day.

Network. Create opportunities for yourself by networking in person. Start with friends in your industry. Call or email and propose meeting up for coffee. Networking is different than job hunting. Don’t go into these meetings ready to present your resume. Instead, ask questions. Do they like their jobs? What skills would they recommend you build on? Before you part ways, ask if there’s anyone in their network they think you should have coffee with. Try to do this three to five times a week.

Expand your skill set. If you’ve ever looked at a job description and felt discouraged because you didn’t meet all the qualifications, now is the time to tackle that challenge head on. Need better Excel skills? There are thousands of tutorials on YouTube, and they’re all free. Checking out books from your local library is equally inexpensive. Junior College and Community College courses are also great ways to boost your skill set.

Volunteer. Another great way to build job-specific skills is to volunteer. Most non-profit organizations welcome any time you are willing to give. In return you get on-the-job training and a unique opportunity to make a real difference in your local community. As an added bonus, when it comes time for organizations to hire new employees, they are much more likely to hire someone they know does great work – you.

Embrace routine. Humans do well with routine. Whatever you do, try to make it a habit. For some people that means spending three hours on a job hunt before lunch, getting some exercise, meeting with a friend or former colleague in the afternoon, updating social media (particularly those sites that can help a job search, such as LinkedIn), and wrapping up the day with family. Whatever routine you prefer, embrace it. Which leads us to…

Make room for fun. Let’s face it, there are certain activities that just aren’t highly compatible with a full time job. For the relatively short period while you are engaged in your job hunt you can sleep in a bit, train for that marathon you always wanted to run, take the kids to the zoo in the afternoon, or cook an elaborate dinner. As long as you carve out time to continue working on your job hunt every day, there’s no reason you can’t take a little time for yourself as well.

Best of luck in your job search, and remember to make the most of your unemployment – it won’t last long.

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