Monday, January 11, 2010

The Other Skills That Will Help You Get the Job: Part 4 of 4 – Good Attitude

A person can have all of the experience and technical skills the company is looking for yet may not get hired if he does not demonstrate strong soft skills. Soft skills are the skills, abilities, and traits that pertain to personality, attitude, and behavior rather than formal or technical knowledge. It is the combination of abilities and soft skills that will set you apart from the crowd.

Soft skills include the following:

Active Listening

Body Language

Accepting Change

Good Attitude

Judi Adams, the founder and senior job search coach at RightChanges, the Affordable and Successful Job Search Coach, addresses each of these in the four part series The Other Skills That Will Help You Get the Job.

In part one of the series we covered active listening and how important that skill is to all of us especially when we are in a job search.

In part two, we covered body language, the tool that comprises more than 75% of all face to face communications. It is important to the job search to leverage this skill by monitoring your own body language and reading other’s.

In part three, we discussed the importance of accepting change, how one day we’ll embrace change and even create our own change.

In the final part of the four part series, we discuss the importance of a good attitude.

The attitude we have is a choice; it is the response we choose to have in reply to a situation. As discussed in part 3, when we face a change, we need to give ourselves time to process the loss and then we need to move on. The attitude you have moving forward is up to you.

Effects of Attitude on the Job Search

Your attitude affects the success of landing that next job in three ways.

Body Language

Your attitude affects your body language. We saw in part 1 of this series how body language is the most natural and spontaneous form of communication and makes up the majority of the message we send to others. No matter how you try to suppress a bad attitude, your body language will give you away and during networking and the job search others will trust what your body is saying more than your words.

Word Choice

Your attitude affects your word choice. Did you know the word “why” can be negative? Asking “why did you do that?” puts the other person on the defensive. By changing the question to “what were the advantages in that choice?” you take the emphasis off of the person and onto the topic of discussion.

The word “but” is also a negative word. The word “but” indicates everything said before it really isn’t true. If I say to a person “I’d like to help you but…”that person is now bracing for the reasons I will not be there to help.

Saying “I like that idea but…” really means I do not like that idea. One way around using the word “but” includes stopping the sentence and beginning another one. Saying “I like that idea. Another approach would be to …” is a way to not negate their idea while sharing another idea.


Your attitude also affects the energy you need to conduct a full time job search. You will hear “no” or worst silence and that will impact your attitude. If you start out with a negative attitude, you have nowhere to go except down.

How to Maintain a Positive Attitude

Let’s be realistic; you will have bad days during the job search. When you do, you should have a strategy to implement to get yourself back up. Remember it is a choice. Here are tips for staying positive:

 Know how to navigate in the new job market. If you are not doing the right things to land that job, it will not matter how hard you work. I believe that most job seekers who are on the market for years instead of months are doing one of three things wrong: they have a bad attitude, they have not identified and can’t articulate their competitive advantage, or they are not networking as they should and instead are applying to ads online. Applying to ads online is the horse and buggy approach to the job search. Get out and network and make real progress.

 Be prepared. Have your resume developed and reviewed by a professional. Practice interviewing and improve the areas that need it.

 Get at least 20 minutes of sunshine each day. The lack of sunshine leads to depression (Seasonal Affective Disorder or SAD) and a deficit of Vitamin D. Even if the skies are overcast, you will get more sunshine outside than in the house. There are light boxes available for regions of the country that have very little sunlight during the winter months. If you are affected by the lack of sunshine you may want to consider using one of these medically recommended devices.

 Do something for yourself (take classes, get new more contemporary glasses, workout / walk, get a new interview attire). Your self confidence will get a shot in the arm.

 Journal your job search journey especially your blessings.

 Develop a plan and work to it. In your last job you probably knew what you would be doing each day. Add structure to your job search. Have a daily and weekly job search to-do list and mark it off each evening. You will see the progress you are making and the structure helps keep you motivated.

 Assist others. Nothing feels as good as helping others and you will expand your network at the same time.

 Get out and reach out; do not close yourself off. Closing yourself off will only increase depression and doesn’t help the job search. Go to a minimum of 3 industry and job search network meetings every week.

 Turn on the positive and turn off the negative. Some TV and radio shows are negative. Instead turn on music that inspires you. If you feel worse after spending time with someone, consider reducing the time you spend with them as much as possible to distance yourself from the negative people in your life.

 Review your list of accomplishments and remember how valuable you are.

 Whatever your faith, pray and listen.

Get Help if You Need It

On occasion we need help with pressure points. You need to keep the roof over your head, food on the table, and the car in the driveway. Also during this time, there is a definite impact on the family dynamics. If you are struggling with one of these life issues, it will be very hard to concentrate on finding a job.

At presentations I ask people in the audience if they would hesitate to call 911 if their house was on fire. No one has ever said they would hesitate to call. I’m sure a trained fireman wouldn’t hesitate to call either; there are times we need the help of others. We have the phone number 211 for the United Way. The United Way has a network of organizations that can help with these pressure points. Keep in mind there are more options available the sooner you call. You would call 911; call 211 if you need them.

Remember: It’s a Choice!
You have a choice: to own a good attitude and do what you need to do to maintain it or you can choose a bad attitude. The good attitude will bring you closer to the new job so you should factor that into your decision and actions.


  1. Dear Coach-

    Thanks a lot for all the valuable pointers. I get a confidence boost just by reading you.

    Question-I live in the DC area and I would like to attend as you are suggesting industry and job search network meetings. Any suggestions on how I can find out about these networks?


  2. Dear Coach-

    Thanks a lot for all the valuable pointers. I get a confidence boost just by reading you.

    Question-I live in the DC area and I would like to attend as you are suggesting industry and job search network meetings. Any suggestions on how I can find out about these networks?


    Dear Lofti,

    Thank you for your kind words.

    There are a number of places to check and I'll answer this for all areas of the country in addition to D.C. since I'm sure others wonder as well.

    1) Job Networking Groups:
    Go to will list the various locations across the country where Crossroads job search networking groups can be found. If you are interested in starting a CCN group in your church, let me know and we'll be in touch.

    The TV news and newspapers sometimes mention other job search groups in the area. Check in the Jobs section of your local paper or challange one of the "we're here to help" reporters on your local TV station to compile a list.

    On Linked In you can search GROUPS for "job" or "career" and see if there are any groups in your area.

    If you don't see a reference to one, join Jobangels on Linked In and post that question to the group. If they know of one, the members will let you know.

    2) Onto Industry networking groups. There are many national organizations for certain industries or positions. SHRM for HR and PMI for project managers are just two. Again you can check groups on Linked In or you can Google your industry and the word "network" to see if there are others. Say I am a nurse and I want to find a network group in DC, I'd Google "nurse" "network" "D.C." or "Arlington". If you ask others in the same industry, they may know of some. You can also get this information through an Informational Interview.

    3) Check out Chamber of Commerce meetings; they are rich with contacts.

    3) A very important publication is the local business paper. For D.C. it is :
    Washington Business Journal
    1555 Wilson Blvd. STE 400
    Arlington, VA 22209-2405
    Phone: 703-258-0800

    Other major cities have business journals. In Atlanta, the Atlanta Business Journal publishes a Book of Organizations, industry groups in the ATL area, which is exactly what you want for your area.

    Contact the Business Journal in your area to see if they have a Book of Organizations as well. In my polling of the other Business Journals I didn't find anyone else who did. Maybe they will once they get enough calls.

    I hope this helps.