In the mid-1960’s, the United States was embroiled in a cultural revolution centered on the establishment and our country’s role in the Vietnam War. A band called Buffalo Springfield released a song called “For What It’s Worth” in 1967. At the risk of losing all my readers below the age of 40, two members of that band (Stephen Stills and Neil Young) later went on to form the more well-known group Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young (CSNY). In any event, “For What It’s Worth” became an anti-war anthem and a voice of our youth revolting against the established culture. It may be a stretch, but one stanza from that song makes me think about the daily challenges facing job seekers.
Paranoia strikes deep, Into your life it will creep, It starts when you're always afraid
Fear and self-doubt are deal-killers, whether you are in sales or in the middle of a job search. Spend an entire week making cold calls with one rejection after another. Go a month without landing an order. Sales is tough, and that’s precisely what a job search is in today’s economy. A sales cycle where you are selling yourself. How do you stay positive when you are applying for jobs online daily, and your resume disappears into a black hole? How do you remain upbeat when you land an interview and then never hear back from the recruiter or hiring manager?
As the song goes, if you aren’t careful, into your job search, it will creep. It can be easy to get down on yourself and start radiating negativity and a lack of confidence and self-worth. That’s a vicious circle. If you get down on yourself in the job search, nothing works. Especially you. You must stay positive in your job search. Here are four ways you can inject some positive vibes into your job search process and beat the blues away every day.
#1: View the job search as a process
The job search is a long process with many steps along the road to that final job offer. If you only focus on the significant achievements like interviews and offers, you are bound to be frequently disappointed. Just look at the numbers. A six-month job search means, on average, seven to 10 interviews, and one job offer. That’s 180+ days with a lot of dead time if you only focus and reward yourself for those seven to eleven significant milestones!
Instead, view your search as a multi-step process and a daily routine with a series of essential activities. Take pride in the small steps along the way to the more prominent results of interviews and job offers. Celebrate each step in the process. Didn’t get a call back for an interview today? That’s okay. But feel good about the two new contacts you added to your job search network today and the exploratory meeting you set up for tomorrow.
#2: Get out from behind your computer screen
Isolation can be depressing. Sure, it’s nice to work and run your job search from your home office in shorts and flip flops. But there are studies that show working in an environment with background noise and other people can improve your performance. Get out from behind your computer screen. Block out specific time in your calendar to work regularly in public spaces at least twice each week. The presence of other like-minded individuals and the social vibe will automatically lift your spirits. And if your outgoing like me, you might also meet a few new network contacts. Just be open to conversation. Find your go-to spot, a coffee shop, or the public library. Mine is Panera. IMHO, the tables are larger, and the coffee and food are better than that other popular destination. But the cheese danish is killing my cholesterol level!
#3: Keep learning and get smarter
Education and self-improvement are a powerful tonic for elevating your outlook and confidence. Getting smarter and adding to your portfolio of marketable skills will improve your mood and bolster your attitude. It’s tough to feel down on yourself when you just mastered a new topic. Work time into your daily routine by continuing to improve your skills through online learning. There are a wide variety of free and low-cost resources available now with extensive catalogs of online courses. If you are a LinkedIn Premium member, take advantage of the courses on LinkedIn Learning. Many universities, including the Ivy League schools, offer free or low-cost online learning courses. And if you are open to paying a nominal fee, online learning sites like Udemy and Coursera offer a broad catalog of courses.
#4: Never Search Alone
This tip seems obvious, but it takes initiative and commitment. Don’t run your job search all by yourself. When the only voice you hear, day after day is your own, problems are around the corner. Fear and self-doubt have loud voices and only offer one perspective. Connect with others in your geographic area and form an informal group of like-minded job seekers. Meet regularly online, in a Facebook group, or better yet, weekly in-person for morning coffee or lunch. Recruit a mentor and engage periodically for advice and a third-party perspective on your search. You can even consider working with a career coach! Besides helping on your job search, we can function as your CMO. The Chief Motivational Officer.
Whichever strategy makes the best sense for you, pick one or all of them. The job search is a hard road to travel and filled with its share of down days. You are bound to feel down and defeated at times in your job search process. The trick is to realize you are not alone, acknowledge your feelings, and then take steps to bounce back and remain positive. Follow the process, and you will land your next job.
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Dan Troup is the Managing Director of the AdvantEdge Careers coaching service. If you are interested in learning more about how a job search expert and certified career coach can assist you, please contact AdvantEdge Careers for a free initial consultation.