As any job-seeker over the last year can tell you, there comes a point when you hit a wall. For those who are out of work, there is usually a burst of activity in the first few weeks as networks are built up and resumes are updated. Then, by around the third month or so, fatigue begins to set in. After the inevitable dead ends and politely worded rejection e-mails, it begins to sink in that the average time it takes to find a new job in this economy is about six months–and you’re only halfway there.
But another truth about searching for jobs is that confidence is everything in this game. If you don’t believe you’re ever going to get a job, no one is going to want to take a chance on hiring you. Giving in to the depression some people feel after an extended job search will only guarantee that your unemployment will continue.
To help keep up this sometimes difficult balancing act, author Sandra Naiman, a career consultant and executive coach, has come up with a list of tips to ensure that your mind is in the right place as you build new work relationships. Naiman’s new book, “The High Achiever’s Secret Codebook,” from Jist Publishing, shows you how a positive attitude can lead to further success in your career. “The key is to engage in activities that provide self-satisfaction and build self-esteem,” she says.
Here are some of Naiman’s suggestions for staying focused and positive while you search:
* Do things that make you feel good about yourself. Take a long look in the mirror and ask yourself, “What is it about me that makes me good at what I do?” Make a list of your favorite qualities, such as sense of humor or compassion, Naiman says, and find ways to make use of those skills and characteristics. For example, she says, if you’re a true planner, organize a book drive at your child’s school. If you have a gift for empathizing, volunteer to work with families of patients in a hospital waiting room.
* Aim for tangible results. Because many job search activities can leave you hanging around, waiting for responses, try to do something each day that leads to a measurable outcome. After you’ve made your daily contacts, try organizing your office, cleaning out the garage or doing other home improvement projects, Naiman says. Perhaps you could write entries for a neighborhood newsletter or enter your thoughts about your job search on a blog. “Make sure that, at the end of each day, you can point to something you accomplished,” she says.
* Surround yourself with supportive people. Sometimes your mood can be altered by the company you keep. If many of your acquaintances are “glass-half-empty” people, who constantly bemoan the state of the economy, don’t allow them to drain your energy, she says. Identify those friends and colleagues who have confidence in you and who can help build up your own all-important self-confidence.
* Reward yourself. Each day, the brain needs to download the stress that builds up. Be sure to take some time to unwind with a good book, a soak in the tub or some other soothing activity. “Pride yourself on the things you accomplished that day, rather than waiting for results before you celebrate what you’ve done,” she adds. “The latter usually doesn’t come as quickly as you would wish.”
* Don’t hide your feelings. It’s one thing to be optimistic; it’s quite another to blind yourself with an unrealistic, Pollyanna attitude. Since we all can’t be upbeat 24/7, “give yourself permission” to have an occasional bad day, Naiman says. “If you diligently follow the above suggestions, you can count on tomorrow to be better,” she adds.
For more information on “The High Achiever’s Secret Codebook,” contact the Jist Publishing Web site.
By Randy Woods
August 27, 2009