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How to Stay Positive Throughout Your Job Search

Job searching is a hard task, and over time it can take a toll on the best of us. As your job search drags on from weeks and possibly into months, it can be pretty difficult to stay positive. Understandably, it’s hard to stay upbeat when it feels like your efforts are all for naught.

While it may be hard, knowing how to stay positive throughout your job search will keep you motivated and is crucial to your success. Moreover, it’s important to remember that any negativity will likely come across loud and clear to your interviewer or anyone else you cross paths with, so you need to keep any negative thoughts in check.

Some days are harder than others, so when your confidence is under siege, here are a few ways to stay positive throughout your job search.

Talk About It

Everyone needs a sounding board, and keeping your frustrations to yourself may not be the best idea when you’re job hunting. Whether you’re looking to commiserate with fellow job seekers or you need someone to keep you focused and put things into perspective after a rough week, don’t be afraid to lean on your support system.

Someone in the same boat might be just the person to reaffirm that it’s tough out there, and someone who has made it to the other side will likely be able to show you that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. When talking about it, though, be sure to make that conversation as constructive as possible; you don’t want to fall into the trap of whining.

Be Realistic About Your Timeline

A common source of frustration while job hunting is an unrealistic expectation of how long it really takes. Job offers don’t typically appear within the first few days of your search. So when you begin job hunting, prepare yourself for a search that could go on for weeks or even months. Having realistic expectations from the outset can spare you a lot of disappointment and frustration later.

Remember, too, that once you fire off a resume and cover letter, that doesn’t mean the hiring manager will see it instantaneously. Your application might be one of 357 they received that day. Filling an open position takes time, and even if you successfully get through the interview process, offers can take days to come through, and start dates can be delayed for any number of reasons.

Don’t Focus on Your Search 24/7

Focusing on your job search and nothing else is a good recipe for burnout and negativity. While treating your search like a full-time job is a good idea, just remember that when the end of the day rolls around, you need to wrap it up and move on to something else. Finding a job is incredibly important, but you still need to spend some time during your day where you’re not thinking about the search. Obsessing about it will only compound the problem and make you feel worse in the long run.

Break Your Search into Smaller Tasks

If you look at your job search as a huge hurdle that you have to get past, it can feel insurmountable. To that end, help yourself maintain a positive attitude throughout your job search by breaking the process into smaller tasks and reasonable goals. Perhaps one week, do some research on ways to make your resume stand out and revise yours; the next week, tackle cover letters and so on.

Additionally, each Monday, write down your goals for the week and aim to send out a certain number of applications per day or make it a point to connect with at least one person in your network.

While you wait for a job offer to come in, these smaller tasks offer you some tangible evidence that you are accomplishing something.

Conduct a Little Self-Assessment

When you’re getting nothing but rejection, and the sound of crickets is deafening, it might be a good time for a little self-assessment. Take a moment to remind yourself of what you’re capable of, the things you’ve done, and your professional achievements. Not only will this boost your confidence a bit, reminding yourself of the value that you could potentially bring to any organization will help you sidestep knee-jerk reactions to any job offer that comes your way.

If you take a job that you really don’t want to appease your self-esteem and end your search, you probably won’t be happy in the long run. Hold out for what you want; otherwise, you’ll be back to your search sooner than you’d like.

Celebrate Small Victories

As you make your way through a long and drawn-out job search, it’s important to celebrate your victories along the way — no matter how small, no matter how few and far between. If you received a callback, consider that a good thing; if an HR rep sends you an email to say they were impressed with your work, consider that a triumph as well. Even though it may not lead to a job offer from that company, it’s still an acknowledgment of what you’ve accomplished professionally.

Put More Irons in the Fire

If you find that you’re sending out applications one at a time and waiting for a response, you might be going about your job search all wrong. Sending out solo applications forces you to focus on one thing only — a response to that application or lack thereof. However, if you send out multiple applications during the course of the week, not only are you keeping yourself busy enough to not focus on only one response, but you’re also putting yourself out there and increasing your chances of actually landing a job or at least an interview.

Focus on What You Can Control

When your job search feels like it’s dragging on forever, it’s important to remember that you need to focus on what you can control. You cannot influence whether someone calls you in for an interview or actually extends an offer. You can control how good or bad your resume is, how effective your cover letter is, and how much networking you do. Do what you can and let the rest sort itself out.

Practice a Little Self-Care

Believe it or not, one of the best ways to stay positive throughout your job search is to practice a little self-care. It’s tempting to focus on this big, important thing in your life day in and day out, but it’s also crucial that you find time to de-stress.

While your search continues, perhaps this is the time to pick up the hobby you’ve been putting off or catch up with some friends and enjoy your downtime. Remember that you have time now to do some fun stuff, but once you land a job, your schedule will change, and you probably won’t have the time later.

When your job search drags on for what feels like forever, staying positive can be incredibly hard. To get past the hump, lean on your support system, control what you can, and don’t forget to give yourself a break.

Photo credit: Adobe Stock

by Emma Krejci, National Recruiter, Planet Forward