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Happy Valentine's Day

Maintaining a positive outlook during a stressful, frustrating job search can challenge even the most upbeat people.  The problem is, success requires that you keep projecting an image of a positive, confident candidate.  Not to worry--I'm here to help.

Stay motivated in the job search and look like the great candidate you are with these steps:

1.  Take care of yourself.  Combat the stress by eating healthy and working out.  (If you've already fallen off the New Year's resolution wagon, now is a good time to climb back on.)  It will give you confidence and make you feel better. A hobby that relaxes you is great, too.

2.  Spend time every day in the job search.  Don't get discouraged and find excuses not to because "there aren't any jobs anyway."  Not true.  And, you'll never find what is there if you don't keep looking.  But I think 4-5 hours a day--on the computer, on the phone, working on your resume or brag book, etc.--is plenty.  Everyone needs a break.

3.  Concentrate on the positive.  Read things that inspire you--great stories, biographies of successful people, and job search tips.  Don't spend time on negativity--why you lost your job, why you didn't hear from that hiring manager, whatever.  If you can learn a lesson from something, learn it and move on.  Don't keep replaying it in your head.

4.   Keep learning. 

  • Keep up with what's going on in your industry.  It will give you more to talk about when you do have an interview.
  • Explore this blog for tons of articles and videos to help you in your job search.

5.  Volunteer.  Not only is volunteering a major mood booster, you can also learn new skills or make new contacts.  And it's a fantastic part of your answer to:  "What have you been doing since you've been out of work?"  "Why, I've been making the world a better place."  ☺ (See JibberJobber's How to Volunteer in the Job Search.)

6.  Try new job search ideas.  Two of my favorites:

  • Informational interviews.  You can learn so much about a job, a company, who's hiring, and the best way in.  Just don't try to ask for a job.  This is not the time or place.
  • Job Shadowing.  If you're transitioning to a new career, this is a must.  It's impressive on so many levels, plus it's a major knowledge- and resume-booster.

6.  Connect with real people, not just virtual ones.  I HIGHLY recommend LinkedIn--join groups, participate, network.  But you need to be talking with people face-to-face, too.

  • Go to networking events.  Talk to people.  You never know what (or who) someone might know.
  • Find a mentor.  Everyone needs someone they can bounce ideas off of who will tell them the truth.  I have a collection of people I take out for coffee or a meal who let me pick their brains and give me advice.  In return, I send them books or things I know they would like, and offer my advice when I can.  It's amazingly helpful.

7.  Be proactive.  If something's not working for you, try something else.  Evaluate everything by "Is this getting me results?"  If not, drop it.  It might sound weird, but try to think of the job search as a game.  How are you going to win the game?  There's a job out there for you.  You just have to figure out how to find it.  If one path is not the right one, another one is.