5 Steps for Taking Positive Action in Your Job Search

“I will never find a job!”  “I’m just not as smart as other candidates.”  “What is wrong with me?”

As a job seeker, it’s very common to have these thoughts.  It’s understandable that you will start to feel discouraged when you aren’t getting leads, hearing back from employers, or aren’t landing interviews.  Many people begin to internalize their perceived lack of success by blaming themselves and focusing on the negative aspects of their abilities.  This is a dangerous road to start down and one that can turn into a vicious cycle of feeling depressed and sorry for yourself.

How do you get out of the job-hunting blues and remain motivated during your job search?

  • Believe in yourself – It’s important not to lose sight of who you are and what you have to offer. You likely have many strengths and talents, but you may not know exactly how to articulate these to an employer. The first step in being able to do this is to first take account of your transferable skills and remember what you are good at and what you enjoy doing.  Transferable skills are the experiences and skills you have developed over the years from coursework, extracurricular activities, internships, jobs, and your total life experiences.  These skills are transferable to many occupations.   For example, do you have the ability to make decisions and solve problems, work in a team environment, or effectively communicate with clients through your strong speaking skills?   Write down all of your transferable skills and remember what you have to offer.
  • Goal-setting – Many job seekers don’t have a clear goal in mind and aren’t sure what they are trying to achieve. This is akin to taking a long road trip without having a road map to guide you along the way.  Setting daily, weekly, and monthly goals for yourself as to what you want to achieve and writing down daily action steps that will help you to achieve these goals can be very empowering.
  • Support group – Joining support groups or forums, both online and in-person can be extremely helpful to gain support and be around like-minded people who are going through similar experiences. It can also be helpful to share resources and other job-hunting tools.  Although being part of a group can be helpful, it’s important not to align yourself with negative job seekers who bring you down or who don’t support your job search efforts.  Try to find positive people in your group who make you feel good and who are motivating and encouraging.
  • Volunteer – This can be a great time to volunteer in areas that will accelerate your job search or simply to volunteer for causes in which you are passionate. For example, if you lack confidence in public speaking, now may be a good time to join Toastmasters and hone your public speaking skills in a supportive environment. You can also join a group that supports your favorite cause. The act of giving back, instead of receiving, can be very gratifying and can oftentimes reduce our anxiety and stress.
  • Effectively manage your time – If you are looking for a job, it is important to treat the job search as a full-time job. Equally as important, however, is your ability to spend time away from your job search and focus on finding a balance in your life.  Take the time to socialize, exercise, and engage in activities that bring you enjoyment. You want to be able to feel energized in your job search each time you come back to it.

Although it is normal to feel disheartened during your job search, focusing on positive thinking and taking positive action to overcome these negative thoughts can make a big difference in your overall search.  Remember that you have a choice – you can either dwell on the negative aspects of your search or you can focus on taking positive steps to make you feel motivated and empowered.

“With everything that has happened to you, you can either feel sorry for yourself or treat what has happened as a gift. Everything is either an opportunity to grow or an obstacle to keep you from growing. You get to choose.” – Dr. Wayne W Dyer

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