Don't let your job search drag you down. Use these tips to remain positive throughout the journey.
When you think of your job search, what comes to mind first? It may be updating your resume, reaching out to your LinkedIn connections, evaluating your online media presence, or a number of other activities that you need to check off your to-do list. Mix that in with the responsibilities of your daily life and you're probably feeling the stress.
For those job seeking, each day can feel like an uphill struggle. From well-meaning family and friends who are continuously asking you about your progress to all the job-search ads popping up around you, it can be a lot — and we've all been there.
Don't let your job search drag you down. Instead, make a conscious decision to stay positive and thankful for what you have, and the rest will fall into place. Here's how!
Treat everything as a learning experience
Diane Gottsman, national etiquette expert and owner of The Protocol School of Texas, preaches rejection acceptance with grace.
“If you get passed over for a position, do not take it personally. Use it as an opportunity to learn what you could have done differently and build on your strengths and skills,” says Gottsman.
When you view a disappointing situation as an opportunity for learning, you'll be better prepared for the next job interview, Gottsman points out. Next time you interview, take a few minutes when everything is still fresh in your mind to jot down questions or talking points that gave you trouble. Use this list as a starting point to craft well-thought-out responses for your next job interview, and you'll feel more confident in no time. Better yet, take advantage of the time you have to ask a trusted relative or friend to conduct a mock interview with you and give feedback.
Acknowledge and track what's working
During your search, take time daily to stop and give yourself a pat on the back. Career coach Susan Peppercorn suggests writing down three positive things that happen each day.
“This shifts thinking away from worries to paying attention to things to be grateful for that you may not be paying attention to,” says Peppercorn.
The good news: Your daily “good things” don't have to be monumental, but instead can be anything from how great your freshly baked cookies came out to catching up with a friend you haven't talked to in a while. Finding joy in the small things that we often overlook can help elevate your entire mindset.
“Research shows that helping someone else lifts the spirits of the helper as much as the person being helped and causes both to feel grateful,” says Peppercorn. Now is time to finally jump the gun on finding volunteer opportunities. From donating food to helping at a soup kitchen, there are a plethora of opportunities to help those in need. Resources like VolunteerMatch make it easy to find ways to give back to your community.
Stay mindfully grateful
Author Tasha Mayberry says that consciously practicing gratitude “will attract more things to be grateful for.” She calls it a simple law of attraction. Thinking about what you have (family, friends, a home, etc.) and giving gratitude for those each day will in turn bring more things to be grateful for your way.
Mayberry recommends going through your gratitude list at the start of each day, adding in what she calls “grateful intentions.”
Start by writing down things you feel thankful for, plus the things you feel gratitude for that have not happened yet, Mayberry suggests. Though they “have not happened yet ... feel as if they [did] and truly believe it.”
This is a great exercise to try while looking for a job. Mayberry advises that job seekers “believe [they] landed an interview, did so well, and got an offer.” Visualize it and you increase your chances of it coming true.
Career coach Katherine Street agrees with Mayberry. She references the research of Dr. Robert A. Emmons, who found that “people with a greater sense of gratitude are less depressed and neurotic, and more agreeable and open — traits that are attractive to employers,” Street explains.
During the rush of daily life, set aside some “me time” in the morning to reflect on what you're grateful for. For mindful gratitude to be the most effective, Street advises doing this each day at the same time. You'll start the day with an air of positivity and will be ready to tackle your to-do list.
According to Mayberry, our thoughts drive what happens and what we attract. If you want to move forward, it's important to remove all negative thoughts — such as that you will not find work — and instead focus on how happy you'll be when you've found the perfect career. Mayberry recommends talking as if this positive outcome has already happened.
J.P. Hansen, career expert and author of "Find Your Bliss," agrees.
“You cannot attract positive results from negative thoughts, period … as soon as negativity hits you, turn the other cheek ... and keep a positive attitude — with gratitude,” Hansen explains.
Of course, this is easier said than done. Need help ridding your mind of negative thoughts? Check out Lifehack's “10 tips for removing negative thoughts from your mind.”
Focus on the prize
Hansen suggests spending time on what truly makes you happy. He explains, “focus on your prize as if you already have it. Visualize yourself in your dream job and focus on it.”
Mayberry suggests creating a vision board of your ideal job or career. She recommends using magazine words and images or drawing your vision.
“Visualize yourself doing well in the interview and getting an offer … think about you in your new office or job, talking with new co-workers, etc. The more details you can add, the better,” says Mayberry.
The clearer your objective, the easier it will be to find what you're looking for. Need help starting your vision board? Check out The Huffington Post for some tips.
When you stay thankful and positive, even in the toughest of times, you open yourself up for good things to find you.
“Successful job searches start with giving thanks!” says Hansen. That's a mentality we can get behind.
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This article was updated in April 2020 by Danielle Elmers.