December 23, 2008

Tips for Staying Positive in the Face of a Frustrating Job Search

Last week, I talked about the importance of keeping the course during your holiday time job search.

And while that advice is true, it does not take into account just how hard it is to follow.  ‘Tis the season for joy and light, but when you are in the middle of a protracted job search, the last thing you feel is joyful light. So how do you stay positive about your careers possibilities even in the face of frustration? Here are some of my ideas.

Get away from it all
Yes, I did say that the holidays are a key time to stay on top of your job hunting game.  And that’s true.  But you can still allow yourself to take a day or two off, just don’t let those two days stretch into a two-week lollygag around your living, playing Rockstar and eating cold pizza out of the box.

Be as focused about your time off as you are about your time “on.”  Turn off your computer.  Don’t open the Want Ads section — not even just to check.  Be completely and totally on vacation.  Spend quality time with your family.  Hang out with your buddies.  Go for a hike with your dog.  Whatever you decide to do, getting away from it all can be a great opportunity to clear your head.  When you return from your mini-break, you will be able to tackle your mission feeling refreshed and re-energized.

Learn something new
Consider enrolling in a course at your local community college or in one of the many distance learning programs.  Whether you take something practical to build up your resume (like intro to HTML or the principles of bookkeeping) or something fun (cake decorating? organic gardening?), spending a few hours every week doing something other than slugging away at the job search can do you a world of good.  It will remind you that you are smart and interesting — two qualities your next employers will definitely appreciate.

Exercise regularly
Okay, before you decide that I have completely lost my mind, hear me out.  Exercise releases endorphins, those feel-good chemicals that boost your mood.  What better way to stay positive than with a regular supply of endorphins pumping you up?  Plus, going for a run, spin or swim is the perfect way to get away from it all, in little one-hour increments.  Get that high a few hours before your next interview — or a few hours after an especially disappointing rejection.  And as an added benefit, just think how fit you will be when you do win that next dream job.

Those are my thoughts.  How do you stay positive in the face of a frustrating job search?  Please share your best tips — consider it a holiday gift for all of us:-).

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