Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was speaking of big problems and big hopes in the struggle for civil rights when he said, “Never succumb to the temptation of bitterness,” but this is wisdom for us all in every area of our lives.
The temptation to be bitter can be strong for a lot of reasons when you’re in a job search if:
you’ve been laid off or fired, or forced to look for a new job because of problems in your current one
you’re older and you know that you’re being passed over for interviews because of your age
you think you’ve been passed over for interviews or jobs because of your skin color, name, ethnicity, religion or background
You can be completely in the right; you can be treated unfairly; the deck can be stacked against you…but your answer is not to be angry or bitter.
Bitterness will keep you from going after opportunities, and it will make you say things in job interviews that hurt you (trashing your old boss, not speaking in a positive way about failures or setbacks, etc.).
What is the answer? Keep moving. Move on to the next opportunity. Widen your net. Contact more hiring managers. Find the place and the position where you and your skills will be valued.
American inventor, scientist, author, printer, and Founding Father Benjamin Franklin is known for his wise and witty advice--his tips for your new year are a great example.
Be at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors, and let every new year find you a better man. - Ben Franklin
I believe we ought to do something every day to make us better and stronger than we were before. Read self-improvement books, spend time with a mentor, invest in time with a career coach, watch helpful videos, attend a webinar or other class to learn from experts. Lower your stress, start working out, eat healthy foods, and grow your friendships. Replace bad habits with good habits.
Here's the key:
If you want to have something different than you had last year,
you have to do something different than you did last year.
I never want anyone to dwell on times that they failed or didn't do something as well as they could have. If you lost your job last year, if you've been searching for months, or if you bombed a big interview--it doesn't matter now. You can't go back and change it.
What you CAN do is learn from it. Take away something that makes you stronger, wiser, or better than you were before. And then move on, do better, and enjoy your new chance to get it right.
Are you ready to tackle your job search?
January is one of the best months to be in a search. Hiring is happening now.
What are you going to do this week, this month, or this year that's different from last year?
Remember - you've got to do something different to get different results.
Never put the key to your own happiness in someone else's pocket. I like this quote for job seekers because too many people believe that they can't do something--typically, people tell me that they can't contact a hiring manager because the job listing says not to.
When you follow the system and apply for jobs online, you are putting the key to your happiness or success in HR's pocket. You are giving them control.
When job seekers tell me that they are afraid to contact a hiring manager for this reason, I always say, "We don't care about what they want. We care about you and what you need."
It's a simple concept but a true universal principle.
When you lift up others, you get multiple benefits ranging from feeling great about yourself right now to reaping the reward of that emotional capital investment later. That person you invested that effort into will return the favor in one form or another later on.
So maybe you say, "Hey, I'm looking for a job. How can I possibly lift up someone else when I'm doing everything I can to keep my own head above water?"
Think of your job search like this: If you have to look for a job anyway, you might as well do it with a positive attitude.
A positive outlook really will make things easier--you won't be as nervous sending out your resume, because you know you'll have many opportunities. You won't be as nervous about interviews for the same reason.
You will expect your conversations to go well, which makes it more likely that they will.
We have some great posts to help you in developing your own positive thinking muscles:
For more motivation and practical tips and job search strategies, attend Career Confidential's free Job Search Training Webinars. Hear the best tips to get you hired and join in the Q&A session at the end. Bring me your questions!
The way we talk to ourselves has a huge impact on how we think and what actions we choose to take. So ultimately, what you say to yourself has a dramatic impact on your success.
Change your self-image (and your success) by being good to yourself. Say great things to yourself. Some of us have an 'inner voice' that isn't doing us any favors. Change that voice. If you wouldn't say it to your friend or your child, don't say it to yourself.
Watch the video for a smile this morning and see what great things you can tell yourself today.
As always, I invite you to attend one of my free Job Search Training Webinars where I show you what you need to be doing to get hired. (Plus we have question-and-answer sessions at the end--bring me your questions so I can help you!) Job seekers tell me that they come away from these training sessions with renewed enthusiasm and motivation!
Ready to hit the Trick or Treat trail? Maybe not...but there's still something important there for you: Do you remember when you were a kid? Remember feeling so excited about putting on your costume and charging out the door to collect the treasure awaiting you? You didn't know what you were going to get when you knocked on that door and said 'Trick or Treat!' but you were hopeful and positive. And if you happened to get a dud treat at one house, you were only disappointed for a second--because the next house probably would have something great..and they did.
Positive thinking, or optimism, is essential to your happiness and ultimate success. You will be happier, healthier, and more successful when you think positively than when you don't. You will be better, stronger, and more than you were before. Not only that, your positive outlook and actions will affect everyone you have an interaction with. You never know what's going on in the lives of others, and your positivity could help them have a better day. Your encouragement could inspire them to try a little harder and reach a little higher than they may have otherwise.
It's so important for you to think positively and develop more confidence that I want to encourage you to take steps to build up those things in yourself: read books that inspire you; spend time with positive people; find mentors who can help guide you; or even invest in time with a career coach who can help you find and eliminate thoughts or actions that you may not even be aware of that are holding you back.
Think of a sport you haven't played before--maybe rugby or tennis or even basketball. If someone challenged you to a game, how well would you do if you showed up cold--no coaching, no practice, and no knowledge of the rules? You'd have a good chance of losing, right?
I personally make a point of spending time with people who are successfully doing things that I also want to be good at. I also read books and articles by successful people that I can learn from. What you put into your brain and who you hang out with will have an impact on your own success. Gravitate to productive and positive people to help yourself be more productive and positive.
I speak to a lot of job seekers who get worried when they don't hear back from someone they've sent a resume to or someone they've interviewed with. Unfortunately, their tendency is to think that the person didn't like them, wasn't interested in them, or some other negative thing about themselves.
The reason I like Eleanor Roosevelt's quote is that it's a good reminder that everyone has their own stuff they're wrapped up in. They're not sitting around thinking negative things about you--they're thinking about what they need to do next or what they're having for dinner or that they need to find time to work out or that their kid is sick or that the project deadline is coming up or any of a million other things.
If you haven't heard from someone in a few days, don't imagine that they don't like you or don't want to hire you--call them (or email them) to check in. Communicate.