Thursday, March 18, 2010

How to Stay Positive in a Job Search

How did you start your job search? What was the first thing you did? Was it to update your resume? If so, you have missed a few essential steps for a successful job search. In fact, if you missed the first three steps you are sabotaging your own job search efforts.

According to the Crossroads Career Services program, there are 6 steps to a successful job search. These sequential steps are logical and job seekers following them have successfully landed jobs, even in this market. In the next six weeks we will cover each step so you know what to do to be successful in landing that next job.

The first and most important step is Attitude.

First you need to process the loss of the job. We humans go through a multiple phase grieving process in order to heal. If you do not allow yourself time to go through this process it will come out at the most inopportune time such as in the middle of an interview.

Then you need to get to the point of accepting the next opportunity that is out there for you. What could be behind that next door? Think of the possibilities.

You also need to get help for pressure points, life issues that affect attitude: keeping the car in the driveway, the roof over the head, and food on the table. It is also addressing emotional issues and family dynamics that are affected by the job search. The phone number 211 is for the United Way and they are there to help with these pressure points.

It is easy to become overwhelmed by the negative news, especially when you are in the midst of a change like a job search. The good news is that every day job seekers are finding jobs, even in this economy, and there are many more jobs out there. Having a good attitude is key to your success.

Having a positive attitude is a choice you make. Here are ideas to help you stay positive.

* Understand there is no shame in being unemployed; the new reality is that everyone will be in a job transition at some time. People now average 13 jobs and 4 careers in a life time. You are just in one of those transitions.

* Develop and maintain a list of your previous accomplishments (see Step 2 next week). Read your accomplishment list and realize that you have a lot to offer your next employer; companies paid you for your skills and experience before and they will again.

* The job market has changed; your approach in finding a job has to as well. Know the new ways to find a job in this new job market. Keep reading this site for all six steps and more tips.

* One major difference between being employed and being in a job transition is that in a job transition there is less structure to each day. Develop a daily plan and work it. This will give you a sense of accomplishment at the end of each day.

* Read the positive news about businesses in your market area and leverage this information. In most major cities there is a Business Chronicle (in Atlanta it is the Atlanta Business Chronicle).

* Nothing feels as good as helping someone else. Volunteer. You will feel better, develop new skills, and expand your contacts.

* Get out and enjoy at least 20 minutes of sunshine every day. The Vitamin D you get from the sun helps maintain a good mood.

At RightChanges we require our clients to read the book "Who Moved My Cheese" by Spencer Johnson and determine which character they are with regards to the job search. If you have never read this tiny book before or have not read it in the last three months, read it! Are you Hem or Haw?

Other books to help with a less than positive Attitude are:

* Attitude is Everything by Keith Harrell

* The Power of Positive Thinking by Norman Vincent Peale

Attitude is a choice, choose a good one.

Next week, we'll move to Step 2 - Aptitude.


  1. I am a huge believer of positive thinking. When it comes to job interviews, I fill my thoughts with phrases like "I will nail this." "This is so chicken wings." "I see myself working on this organization."

    It pays to be positive.


  2. Very good points... we cannot make the point strong enough that being without a job, especially in this market is not uncommon. However people still feel shame due to many factors. Focusing on the positive and doing things to pump up the positive in life is very important. Reading the excellent book you recommended is essential. I would also suggest Viktor Frankl's Man's Search for Meaning.

  3. Excellant reading and I do admire the same.

    Jay Parekh