A major feature of unemployment is that it is another cross-road in your life and only you can choose which direction you take. There are very few opportunities like this in your life. Paradoxically, while you may not have chosen the redundancy or lay off situation, it has delivered the opportunity for you to now carefully choose your future direction. However, realizing this is crucial because you have to first maintain a positive mental attitude and use the same positive attitude to do a job search.
While maintaining a positive attitude is vital to a successful job search, there will be times when you get discouraged. It may seem impossible to revive that positive energy level. But there are many things you can do to bring your good outlook back to life and keep it in good shape.
Think of the following tips as a crash course in job search CPR – Cheerful, Positive, Resuscitation.
- Remember to feel good about yourself.
This is a golden rule and the key to a positive attitude. Remember, all the points that follow this are ways of helping you feel good about yourself. Remember, no one else can feel good for you. Reach out to that wonderful place inside you where no one else has control over and bring it to the surface and let it radiate through your being.
- Talk positively about yourself and your abilities.
Don’t talk yourself down. Be very positive about yourself, your skills and your achievements. You were not sacked, you were not made redundant, the position you were in was made redundant due to business refocus! Think about all your achievements in the past and be happy about them. Be proud of yourself and let it show in your talk, walk and the way you see life. What you call yourself is what people will call you. What you believe about yourself is the foundation of all your future actions.
- Take total charge!
Only you can do it, roll up your sleeves, be ready to get your hands dirty and take charge. Be present, be visible, be accountable, stand out and be ready. Accept full responsibility for your life and your job search. It is not up to your partner, mother, father, girlfriend or boyfriend, or your aunt Tania in ‘God knows where’ to find you a job. Although it is important that you expand your circle of influence by networking like there is no tomorrow and your network will be a definite help, but YOU are responsible for the success of your job search so learn to be a superstar job seeker. If you don’t have a job, your current job is that of a Job Search Manager.
- Let go of regrets about the past.
Move on, instead of blaming yourself or anybody and constantly rehashing past mistakes, take the opportunity to learn from the past. Build on past experiences to improve yourself and your abilities. Waste no time on unproductive thoughts and things. Be pragmatic and live in the present with a focus on a new beginning.
- Attitude is contagious.
Surround yourself with supportive, positive people. Walk away from nay sayers, or emotional vampires. Don’t let them drain you of your positive energy.
- Stop worrying about the future.
While you don’t want to live in the past, you also don’t want to live in the future. I know that worrying is a habit, get past it, you can change the habit if you really try. If you find yourself stuck in a negativity rut, shovel yourself out by focusing on your hopes and dreams rather than on your fears. Dust yourself off and put solutions in place to help you get to where you dream of.
- Flatter yourself.
The job search period is no time to be humble. Make a list of every positive feedback that you ever received and why. Read every complimentary e-mail and things said about you that you can find. Letters of praise, past awards, performance appraisals, or any other positive recognitions you have are good ways to remind yourself of your worth and talents. Paste these things on a wall or a bulletin board in your work area at home to boost your spirits whenever you feel a little down.
- Start each day on a positive, upbeat note.
Trust me, the start of your day will set the tempo for everything that follows. So it is important that you do something every morning that will put you in a good mood, whether that is taking a walk, walking your dog, listening to some upbeat music, twittering, blogging, running, surfing the Internet, doing a crossword, or just relaxing with a good cup of coffee or tea.
- Get physical!
Don’t vegetate on a sofa with a remote in one hand and a pile of biscuits feeling sorry for yourself. You’ve heard the saying, “healthy body, healthy mind.” Keep yourself healthy and in good physical shape. This will boost your energy level and make it easier to maintain a positive mental attitude. Exercise regularly, eat a well-balanced diet, get enough sleep, chill out with positive friends and not the ones that will talk your emotions down. Turn the volume of your music up and dance but don’t disturb your neighbors!
- Create a ‘job search’ schedule and stick to it.
Knowing what you are supposed to do each day can prevent you from feeling lost or bored. Sticking to your schedule as closely as possible will provide focus to your job search.
- Keep up appearances
Turn your cool and professional swagger on. While nobody expects you to wear a suit and tie every day on your job search, try not to dress too casually. Keep your work space and living space neat and tidy. Set a positive framework for your job search.
- Take a team approach to finding a job.
Even if the team is only two people, it is helpful to have somebody else to share ideas with and to review your progress on a regular basis. Talk to your former colleagues and share tips. Talk about what success will look like and how to get there. Go for a drink and discuss in a happy environment.
- Accept your cycles.
While it is important to maintain a positive attitude, it’s unrealistic to think that you will be 100% positive forever. The trick is not to get down on yourself when you get down. Set a time limit on how long (10 minutes, for example) you will allow yourself to stay down when you feel a little depressed.
- Join a professional group.
If you are looking for a job in a certain profession, join LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook. ‘Follow’ the company, ‘friend’ them and ‘like’ their products. Comment on their recent developments and follow their news. However, be professional at all times. Joining an association can be an excellent way to keep up to date on developments and trends. It will help you develop your network and put you in contact with people that have interests similar to yours.
- Keep growing.
Continue to develop your skills and knowledge while looking for work. Do this by:
- Taking a class.
- Attending free webinars
- Taking part in Twitter (professional) chats
- Attending conferences, workshops and seminars.
- Reading pertinent articles on the web
- Creating a blog of your own
- Subscribing to RSS feeds
- Subscribing to trade magazines.
- Reading the newspaper and other current-affair magazines.
- Doing volunteer work that uses the skills and knowledge you want to use in your next job.
If you are not immediately successful in finding work, you might start to question your skills and qualifications. Keeping on top of the skills, knowledge and trends in your field will make you feel positive about your ability to do the type of work you want to do.
- Don’t take rejections personally.
Very few people land the very first job they apply to or are interviewed for. Your attitude really depends on how you look at things. You can see a job rejection as a personal attack on your abilities or character, or you can see it as an opportunity to grow and learn more about yourself.
By: Catherine Adenle