Tips to maintain optimism during your job search

Everyone knows that searching for employment is a hard thing to do. It can be frustrating, tiresome and tough on the wallet, particularly for the unemployed. Plus, the ups-and-downs can take a toll on a job seeker’s emotions. Attitude. And outlook on life.

The longer it takes to land a new position, the more difficult it can be for job hunters to remain optimistic. You start dragging your feet. Hanging your head. This is a problem because employers generally want to hire upbeat people who bring energy to the workplace. If you walk into your next interview and a raincloud follows you through the door, the hiring manager will surely notice. It can cost you the job.

How do you make a positive impression when you’re feeling downright gloomy? Here are a few tips that might help:

•Make the most of non-work time.

Doing nothing is great for a short period of time. If you were fired, laid off or burned out from your last job, you may need a few days or weeks to regroup and relax. Just don’t allow your recovery time to drag on too long. Wallowing can become a hobby if you let it.

In addition to job searching, use your out-of-work days to try something new. Research an idea that has occupied your mind for a while. Expand your knowledge for the workplace by taking a business course, joining Toastmasters International (a public speaking organization) or learning new software. But don’t stop there. Give yourself permission to do something for pleasure. Teach yourself to bake bread. Take a pottery class. Improve your skills in Photoshop just for fun. Volunteer. Also, try to meet people inside and outside of your field, and keep the buzz going by staying in touch after meetings or events.

•Rework and revise.

Nothing boosts confidence like a compelling, well-designed resume. Overhaul your document until it showcases your personality and highlights your ability to make money, cut costs or improve productivity. If you don’t feel proud of your accomplishments every time you hand your resume to an employer, rewrite it.

•Shake yourself up – physically.

Before an interview, take a super-fast walk around the block, head to the gym or dance around your living room. Moving your body will help shake off the blues and add some bounce to your step. Remember that most hiring managers want candidates who are enthusiastic and ready to make a difference for the company. Let some energy shine through.

•Be ready to answer questions.

If you have been out of work for longer than a month or two, expect interviewers to ask about it. Don’t be afraid of this part of the conversation. Just be ready. Rather than sitting there like a deer in the headlights, grumbling about the bad economy or talking about the initial shock of being laid off, emphasize the ‘experience’ of your unemployment. What you have learned. How you took full advantage of the time.

No matter how challenging, this experience has probably taught you something useful. At the very least, it has prepared you to make an even greater impact in your next job. This is what your future employer needs to know.

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