5 tips to keep your cool during a job search

By Eve Nicholas

Ease under pressure. Unshaken by chaos. Some individuals make their way through a stressful job search with a sense of coolness about them. But most don’t. And since confidence and composure can help you land a position in a tough economy, it’s a good idea to adopt some techniques that will assist you in staying calm and focused throughout the process.

Essentially, the smarter you are about your job search, the calmer you’ll feel. Here are some of the most indispensable techniques used by sharp, savvy job hunters:

Set a clearly defined goal. If you need a job quickly, it can be tempting to broaden your search and apply haphazardly for positions in sales, technology, human resources, maintenance and accounting. You might believe that if you turn a hundred doorknobs, at least one of them is bound to open. Unfortunately, job hunting doesn’t work this way.

In general, you’ll secure a job faster if you concentrate on a few key industries or positions. Why? Because most employers aren’t interested in jack-of-all-trades candidates. They don’t have the time or inclination to figure out which department is the best place for your talents and strengths.

Selecting a career goal is your responsibility; not theirs. Be a strategic job seeker. Pick a field. Hone your skills. And show employers how you will start making a positive impact right away.

Customize your job search materials. Once you have a distinct goal in mind, create personal marketing materials that back you up in full force. Use compelling language and a professional format to highlight your assets and accomplishments. And don’t forget to customize your documents each time you target a new company or opportunity. It is up to you to ensure that the employer understands how you will add value to the business.

Wage war on typos. It’s true that everyone makes mistakes. But no matter how rapidly an application deadline may be creeping up on you, there is no excuse for sending a resume loaded with embarrassing typographical and spelling errors. It can cost you the job.

Carefully review every word, comma and capital letter in your marketing documents. This is your first impression. Make it flawless.

Find ways to manage stress. Even easygoing people feel anxious once in a while. And since the average job seeker is racked with tension at various stages in the hiring process, it’s important to come up with healthy ways to deal with pressure so it doesn’t turn you inside out

Soothe your nerves by taking breaks, exercising or giving yourself rewards for accomplishing difficult tasks. See a movie. Walk the dog. Do something — anything — that gives you a chance to step away, free your mind and exhale.

Stay alert at all times. Smart job hunters know that they are being evaluated in every moment — not just during formal interviews. Yes, employers listen closely during phone calls. They scrutinize your e-mails and letters. They watch when you think you’re alone in a waiting room before a meeting.

Regardless of how brief or inconsequential it may seem, all of these interactions are part of your presentation. Be polite. Patient. Respectful. And never lose your cool.

Eve Nicholas: Eve.GetaJob@gmail.com.