Staying Upbeat While Looking for a Job
Very few experiences are more emotionally draining than searching for a job. It ranks right up there with divorce and other major negative life events, according to psychologists. Of course it’s even tougher if you’ve been laid off or you’re completely out of work for whatever reason because chances are the financial pressures are making it even tougher to be upbeat. Yet putting your best self forward is critical when trying to sell yourself in a job interview, and talking about bills or financial strains are not good selling points to getting hired.
So how do you keep a positive outlook in the face of the anxiety, frustration and rejection that are often a part of job hunting? Well here are some great tips and ideas to consider:
Acknowledge your true feelings throughout the process. The sooner you confront them, the better off you’ll be. A lot of people say, “I didn’t get the job, but it doesn’t bother me” or “I don’t care.” However, if we could peel away the outer layer, we would see that inside they may be feeling let down or even scared. It’s good to talk with a trusted friend or spouse, but avoid pity parties.
If you don’t have a confidant, then express those thoughts and emotions in a private journal or say them aloud in a tape recorder—even in the mirror will do. Don’t deny your feelings even if you are mad, and once you get them out, don’t dwell on them either. Internalizing or denying feelings only leads to stress and anxiety, which left unchecked can fester and grow and manifest in many unhealthy ways. You never want to exude distrust or anger or start crying in an interview.
Get Organized & Get Out
Another reason people who are out of work feel sorry for themselves is they don’t know what to do. Once you establish a routine and plan tasks just as you would at work, you will feel better. So make a list of at least five things you will do each day towards the goal of getting a job. Get up and get dressed at a decent hour and get out of the house some days. It is true that a lot of jobs are listed and can be applied for on the internet, but you can get lost in cyberspace and it will suck up all your meeting, networking and interviewing time if you let it. You can get on the computer in the morning and next thing you know, it’s 10 p.m. and you are still in your pajamas, hair and teeth have not been brushed!
Mix it up. Some days you need to get out and do some networking and always, clean up, comb your hair and dress at least business casual, even if you are just going to pick up a job application. Why? Well the answer is simple… you never get a second chance to make a first impression. You never know who could be looking.
As important as your job search is, don’t get so consumed by it that you put the rest of your life on hold. Center yourself by allowing something you enjoy each day that is not job-related—listen to your favorite music, read poetry, say a prayer. Just ten minutes of exercising, deep stretching or even a short brisk walk releases endorphins that alleviate anxiety and boost energy.
Pursue a hobby, organize a room, or finish up projects you weren’t able to complete while you were working long hours before. This way you can gain a sense of accomplishment regardless of how your job search is going. Also, a few hours of volunteering for a worthy cause can help put your misery in perspective. Volunteering looks good on a résumé because it shows you are an involved citizen and sometimes job leads can come through your volunteer circle.
Get a Good Perspective
Focus on what you can do today instead of on yesterday’s regrets or tomorrow’s worries. Keep trying new approaches. A part-time job or temporary one can help structure your day, bring a little income in, build your confidence, and expand your networking while you’re looking for a full-time position. Gather your kudos, little notes of praise, good performance reviews and awards and post them up to remind yourself how much you have to offer. Or just make a bullet list of your great qualities and attributes that would translate well in any job. Don’t forget to add some to your résumé if appropriate.
The stress of looking for a job can take a toll on even the strongest person. Don’t beat yourself up for feeling down. Take a couple of days to recharge, and then get back to your job hunt. Finally, recognize that getting rejected is just part of the process. Try to remember that each rejection brings you closer to that positive outcome of securing the right job.
Rachel M. Mouton, a professional development coach, is the founder of Professional Portfolio LLC —a consulting firm specializing in the design, development and delivery of employee training programs & motivational workshops. She can be reached at (337) 247-6575. You can also email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.