You’ve probably heard the expression, ‘looking for work is the hardest work there is.’ And, if you’re in the process of wading your way through a long and difficult job search, you likely understand that sentiment perfectly. It can be tough to continue to put one foot in front of the other when the job hunt goes on and on. Some days it can feel almost impossible to stay confident or positive in the face of the mounting bills and worries. But, it’s really important to keep going, and to do so with a good attitude. So, here are a few tips to help you persist and stay positive during a difficult job search process.
Understand the Value of Being Positive
A positive attitude is actually a really powerful thing. It isn’t just an internal state of being that has no bearing on other people or our lives – it can actually have a real impact. Being positive, rather than negative, allows our thoughts to be more optimistic. We dream bigger, shoot higher, and believe in ourselves more when we’re feeling good. That changes the way we approach people and it changes the way we approach our lives. Being positive rather than negative means you’ll feel happier, be more constructive in your thinking and actions, and probably find success in your job search sooner too. Remind yourself of the importance of staying in a positive state of mind during this job search process.
Carefully Consider and Construct Your Schedule
If you’re not currently working and looking for a job, you have much more freedom and flexibility in your schedule than you normally would. At first, you might really enjoy the change of pace. But, as time goes on, the lack of structure could start to work against you. In order to avoid slipping into a less-productive cycle, be sure to carefully consider and construct your schedule. Determine the hours you’ll work on your job search, and be sure to stick to your plan. Maybe even get into a bit of a nine-to-five routine about it. You’ll be setting yourself up for success if you can treat finding a job, like it’s your job.
Stay Deeply Engaged at Every Step
Just as it’s important to be engaged at work, it’s equally essential that you stay alert and deeply connected to what you’re doing through every phase of the job search process. You won’t be doing yourself any favors if you start firing off resumes and cover letters without really thinking about it, or without trying to connect with the specific employer your contacting. Stay deeply engaged throughout the job hunt. It’s important that you engage with potential opportunities meaningfully, not that you send out a high number of applications per day.
Be Realistic About the Time-Frame
Try not to get discouraged if your job search is taking some time. That’s typical. On average, the job search process takes about six weeks. But, it’s even longer for higher-level positions. Jobs that come with the title of “director” or “vice president” take an average of 76 days to fill. And, some think that finding the right job often takes even longer. Career coach Marc Miller recommends that workers plan to look for between 6 months and 2 years. The important thing here is not to get discouraged. Nothing positive will come from that. Instead, be realistic about what to expect.
Just as workers have to guard against burnout at their jobs, people looking for work need to be careful and kind to themselves too. Taking breaks allows us to refresh ourselves and stay mentally healthy and sharp. It may seem counter intuitive, but taking breaks actually helps us stay on schedule. So, be sure to factor breaks into your daily routine and into your long term plans as needed. They’ll help you stay positive through the challenging process of looking for work.