It’s very important to maintain your confidence in any job search—because that optimism will show up in your approach, your conversation, your body language, and make you ultimately more successful. Conversely, negative thinking will also show up—you’ll feel less confident. You won’t feel like the strongest candidate, so you won’t look like the strongest candidate, and you’ll lose another opportunity. It ends up as a vicious cycle that leaves you in the job search a lot longer.
We’ve been taking a look at Mark Tyrrell’s fantastic post on How to Stop Negative Thinking in 7 Simple Steps and applying them to your job search to help you stay positive.
Mark says that step 7 in how to stop negative thinking is to ‘Stop making stuff up and believing it.’ Imagination is a powerful tool, and too many times, we use it to scare ourselves with all of the terrible things that could happen, whether it’s likely to happen or not. So, to fight that, we need to use our imagination to imagine things going well.
So, in your job search, you should imagine and expect to be successful in every encounter—every time you contact the hiring manager, every time you walk into an interview, and every time you negotiate a compensation package.
When you expect a situation to go well, you walk into it smiling. Your body language is more open, you are more enthusiastic, and you are focused on making this encounter a win-win for everyone. This is so much better than coming into it with worry and fear. Worry and fear will close you up and shut you down before you even start.
If you expect an interview to go badly, the slightest doubt from the interviewer will make you give up: “Yes, you’re right, I don’t have that experience. I probably can’t do this job.”
Someone expecting it to go well will respond to the very same doubt by saying, “Yes, you’re right, I don’t have that experience, but I do have this experience that is very similar, and it helps me bring even more to the table. It won’t take me long to learn that particular skill, and then I’ll be even more effective.”
See the difference? Hiring managers are just like everyone else. They are more attracted to people who are confident, comfortable, and positive. Expecting a positive outcome will telegraph these great qualities to them. It won’t always get you the job, but it will dramatically improve your chances.
Help yourself think positively
While you’re unemployed, take extra special care of yourself mentally, emotionally, and physically. Read positive books. Volunteer for something that makes you feel good, whether or not it helps you in your job search. Spend time with friends and family. Learn a new skill you always wanted to learn but never had time for. Get some sunshine. Eat healthy foods. Work out. If you need to drop a few pounds, do it now.
Limit your job searching to no more than 4-5 hours a day. Use the rest of the time in one of these other activities because it will help to keep you in a positive frame of mind, which will also help you make a better impression on potential employers.
One of my favorite stories is about a candidate who got fired but then joined a gym and lost 50 pounds, now that he had time to do it. At the same time, he got some job search and interview tools from Career Confidential, and within 3 months, landed a better job than the one he lost. He took active, positive steps in several areas of his life and it paid off for him.
Accept that your unemployment is temporary. Almost everyone finds themselves in this situation at some point, and we all get through it. Accept that you’re probably going to make a mistake. Everyone does, because no one is perfect. If you make a mistake that you can’t fix, learn from it, let it go and move on.
If you consistently find yourself with a problem—you can’t get interviews no matter what you do, or you can’t get job offers no matter how many times you interview, then get help.
- The fastest solution to any problem you’re having is personal coaching.
- If your resume isn’t generating interviews, revise your resume.
- If you aren’t finding jobs or you have trouble contacting hiring managers, use my Hidden Jobs Finder.
- If your interviews aren’t generating offers, learn to interview better and bring a 30-60-90-day plan.
Be proactive and get the help you need to be successful.
Let go of the fear. Don’t let it hold you back. Your next job is waiting for you to find it.