Stay positive during your job search

By at home

keepingpositiveWe take a look at the strains of the quest for employment and how you can transform your situation into an optimistic experience.

Job-hunting can be a stressful and time-consuming process and unfortunately often one that lures people into negativity. Especially since the economic downturn, instead of perceiving this time of change as an exciting new step in life, many find that searching for employment becomes a burden. Unemployment can have further implications than simply hitting your income: it can lead to psychological distress and have damaging effects to your well-being, which means that keeping positive during joblessness and the search for a job is essential to your health and success.

The first step to tackling any resounding negativity surrounding your status as a job-hunter is to understand and deal with the reasons why you are currently unemployed.  Whether you were dismissed, made redundant, or simply chose to leave due to unhappiness in your previous job, until you fully come to terms with the causes of your current situation, moving on and remaining positive will become increasingly difficult.  If you were dismissed from your previous line of work, consider the justifications your employer gave for it and take these on board.  Constructive criticism gives you an opportunity to improve and progress and will enable you to be more successful in your next role.  If you have decided to change career or employer due to discontentment, then you will need to pinpoint the cause of this unhappiness and make a conscious decision to avoid or tackle this in your next move.

After determining and accepting your situation, the next stage you need to undertake is the planning process that will take into consideration your reasons for unemployment and your aspirations for your new job.  It is essential to carry out thorough research about your career options and gain a grasp of the areas of work that interest you – if you are enthusiastic about the job you are hunting for then your experience is going to be far more positive. You will also need to plan some form of job searching schedule, which perhaps consists of how you are going to budget your expenditure as you look for work, and when you are going to set aside time to pursue work.  It is advisable to spend as much time as possible job-hunting, particularly if you feel yourself becoming depressed with the situation.

By organising your job search, the unpredictable and stressful elements of the process can be greatly reduced. This structured arrangement also spreads into the procedure itself: so when you are contacting employers about jobs, keep a record of who you have spoken to – this will allow you to keep track of applications. At the end of each day or session you spend job-hunting, write down or recap over what you have achieved and what you need to follow up, or make sure is done the following day. By organising your sessions, it then allows you to look upon your progress in a more clear and optimistic manner.

Be proud!
This positivity should also be implemented in your approach to your CV and covering letters. Focus on your unique attributes and skills that make you attractive to an employer rather than dwelling on areas in which you may be less experienced. If there are aspects of your education or skills set that you feel need improving, then look into courses or qualifications available locally – as not only will they help improve your employability but also they will prove opportunities to socialise with others who may be in a similar situation to you.  Additionally, a support group will help you with the emotional aspect of searching for work. Being proud of your accomplishments and your abilities is crucial: if you do not believe in yourself as an ideal candidate then you will find it very difficult to persuade an employer to do so. Remember: a positive mental attitude will come across to an employer in an interview from a candidate – but so will negativity.

keepingpisitve2Keeping busy

  1. Remaining optimistic whilst job-hunting, believe it or not, is not all about searching for employment itself. You need to keep yourself busy whilst you look for work – whether this is meeting up with friends or exercising (which is a great stress reliever) – to ensure that you keep a good balance between your quest for employment and your personal life. It is when you let the job-hunt consume your day-to-day activities that many people find themselves bogged down by the process and beginning to feel negatively about the situation.  
  2. Take advantageof the free time you currently have and do the things you never have the time to do when you are working, such as volunteering – which can be a useful addition to your CV – or read that book that you have never got round to. There are many others who will be in the same predicament as you and there are several organisations built to help you find work such as job centres. By keeping in contact with those that can help you or understand your difficulties, you are less likely to become pessimistic and will remain more focussed on your aims.  
  3. Try to avoid procrastination as much as possible, by breaking up any non-productive time you spend on the internet, interchanging your tasks and ensuring you have regular breaks. If you feel yourself becoming distracted, go for a short walk to clear your head and then return to your search.
  4. Keeping positive whilst job-hunting is not about pretending that your situation is ideal or shutting out everything else until you find employment. What you need to do is accept your circumstances and make organised steps towards achieving your goals. Gaining a job is important but do not neglect your interests or your friends and family – it will be these elements of your life that provide you with the optimism you need to continue your search. Positivity breeds positivity so by maintaining a hopeful outlook, your ability to gain employment will greatly improve.

This article was first published in Careers with Hayley Taylor in August 2011. [Read the digital edition here]

 Images: Getty

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