It is easy to become frustrated or disheartened during a job search, particularly if you’ve been unemployed or job hunting for an extended period. However, it is important to try to remain positive throughout.
Feeling positive will help motivate you to continue with your search. Also, your positive attitude will come across during interviews and networking opportunities, increasing your chances of making a strong first impression.
Tips for Staying Positive During a Job Search
Here are 12 tips for remaining upbeat and enthusiastic during your job search.
1. Get Organized
Take time to get organized. Having everything you need for a job search ready - your resume and LinkedIn profile updated, some references you can use, an interview outfit ready to wear, and a plan for organizing your job search in place - will make the process much smoother.
If you haven't started job hunting yet, spend time getting set before you start. If you're in the middle of a job hunt, but not having much luck, set aside time to make sure your resume is updated and enticing to prospective employers, your LinkedIn profile is polished and professional, you're connected to the right people, and you have references ready to endorse your credentials.
Review our 30 Days to Your Dream Job series to ensure you've covered the basics you need for an effective job search, and to break your search into manageable steps.
2. Create a Daily Job Search Routine
If possible, treat your job search like a 9 - 5 job. For the time being, consider your job search as your full-time job. Wake up early, take a lunch break, and end your job search activities before dinner.
Creating a regular routine and keeping your job search organized will keep you focused and motivated. Also, setting a start and end time to your job search forces you to stop thinking about your job search in the evenings, and spend time focusing on other important aspects of your life, like your friends and family.
These time management tips will help you make the best use of the time you have to spend on your job search.
3. Find Time to Not Think About Your Job Search
It’s easy to have your job search always in the back of your mind. However, excessive worry about your job search only increases your stress and keeps you from enjoying other aspects of your life. Set aside time each day to forget about your job search and do something you enjoy, like going for a walk or to the gym (exercise is an important way to de-stress!) or going or a movie.
4. Focus on Your Positives
When job searching, it is useful to make a list of your best qualities, skills, and accomplishments. This list will help you when crafting your cover letters and when practicing for an interview. Keep this list where you can see it, and review it regularly. Remembering what makes you a successful job candidate and a talented, unique person will help boost your confidence during the job search process.
5. Set Reasonable, Concrete Goals
At the start of each week, make a list of specific, manageable goals that you would like to achieve. Perhaps you’d like to write five cover letters that week or go to three job fairs. By focusing on small, achievable goals, you will feel more accomplished throughout your job search.
6. Spend Some Time Networking In-Person
Even though you can successfully network online, nothing beats in-person networking. A cup of coffee with a former colleague, client, or friend may get you job leads that you wouldn't have otherwise known about. On a similar note, don't be shy about asking your friends and family for job search assistance. The more people who know you're seeking employment, the better your chances of getting hired quickly.
Helping others is a good way to help you feel more purpose-driven. Find a volunteer organization that is related to your personal interests, or even to your career. Volunteer organizations also provide networking opportunities. The time you spend volunteering can bolster your resume and count as part of your job searching "work schedule."
8. Join (or Start) a Job Search Club
Joining an organization of other job seekers will provide you with much-needed support. A job club can help you stay on top of your own job search, and may even provide you with job search tips and job leads. Look to networking sites, your local library, or your college career center for possible clubs.
9. Celebrate Small Victories
It is easy to focus on the negative during a job search, such as the interview you didn’t land or the job you didn’t get. Instead, focus on even the smallest wins. Be proud of yourself for getting a phone interview, even if you don’t get asked for an in-person interview. Pat yourself on the back when you make a new LinkedIn connection or someone comments on your blog post. Celebrating the small wins will help you to focus on the positive.
10. Move On Quickly
If you apply for a job or interview for a position, it is easy to become fixated on waiting for a reply from the employer. Yes, you should keep track of the jobs to which you apply, and you can contact the employer if you do not hear a response in a week or two. However, if you don't receive any response, or if you do not get the job, move on. Simply cross that job off of your list and focus on the next opportunity.
11. See Everything as an Opportunity
It’s easy to become tired of writing cover letters, going to interviews, and networking. However, try to think of each activity as an opportunity that will only make you a better candidate. If you are interviewing for a job, you don’t think you want (or don’t think you will get), try to think of the interview as a chance to network and to work on your interview skills. Think of each cover letter as the chance to hone your writing and editing abilities. Simply thinking of tasks as opportunities rather than chores will put you in a positive mindset.
12. Focus on What You Can Control
You can’t control whether or when an interviewer will call you back, or whether those networking contacts you emailed will provide you with any leads. If you feel yourself worrying about something that is out of your control, do something that you can control, such as writing and sending out a cover letter, or attending a networking event.
By focusing on what you can do to help your job search, you will worry less about what is out of your hands. Even though it might seem like it's taking forever, once ready to start your new job it will be worth all the effort you put into getting hired, and the time you spent dealing with a difficult job search.