As we all know, job search can be a daunting activity for anyone and having a strong emotional support is essential during this process. Lack of response from employers, rejection emails and interviews that lead to nowhere can be really disappointing, especially when they happen over and over for several months. What do you do about it? How can you maintain the positive attitude that’s so essential in your job search, not only for your personal well-being, but also for your success in landing your ideal job?
It is not a secret that most employers love hiring positive people and staying positive is not something you can fake. If you are feeling stressed out, overwhelmed, desperate or frustrated with your job search, every time you show up at another interview, your state of mind will show, no matter how hard you try to hide it. As a career coach, I see it over and over again with my clients. Desperate and frustrated candidates take longer to find jobs, while positive and grateful clients get hired right away. And yes, it may be true that in the beginning of your search you were probably less frustrated and that it is your experience and constant “failures” in your search process that caused all this emotional turmoil. However, being frustrated and disappointed isn’t helping you now, is it?
Sometimes the circumstances can be less than favorable – the demands of the market may have changed, you may not have enough experience, or there aren’t that many jobs available currently, etc. Trust me, all of the above circumstances can be easily dealt with. It may take longer than you wanted, but you will find something eventually. What I discovered in my career as a career coach is the fact that current market situation is rarely the main cause of your frustration with your job search. The main cause and the biggest impact on your attitude about the job search and your well-being is usually something that happened with your previous or current employer. Something many of us often choose to avoid or get past as soon as we can, hoping that finding a new job quickly will fix it all. It rarely works that way.
If your previous position was terminated or eliminated, if you were too miserable to continue working there or if you are still there being miserable, you will approach your job search with that baggage. You can’t help it but come from the place of emptiness, desperation and possibly even some negative conclusions you made about yourself or your worth as an employee. This can really affect your confidence in your search as well as your ability to position yourself as a valuable candidate. And naturally, every rejection letter or lack of response will only add to your already low self-image. If you loved your previous job and the circumstances have forced you to leave it behind due to lay off, relocation or other family-related duties, you can still be frustrated about what happened and not really excited about the future prospects, which can also affect your search today.
Let’s talk about what you cando instead. You may try faking it till you make it, some people claim it works for them, in my personal experience, I don’t find it very effective. Besides, it won’t stop you from feeling miserable when no one’s looking. The first step is don’t try to hide your feelings or pretend they don’t exist or worse – don’t matter.
What really helps is having someone you can talk to. Someone who can listen and really get what you’re going through without any judgments or expectations. Someone who won’t be giving you advice on what to do. A spouse can be a good choice, but probably not if he/she depends on you financially and fears the burden of not being able to pay rent/mortgage as much as you do. But even if your spouse has a stable job with decent pay and tells you multiple times that you will be fine for a while, sometimes he/she is too busy to listen to your problems or fails to validate them simply because in his or her mind, you are going to be fine for a while. This is where a career coach can be very helpful.
What you really need most of all is to feel acknowledged and validated. Most importantly, you need to understand and know in your heart that in spite of what happened at your previous job, you are still a highly valuable worker. Your previous employer may not have seen your value, but that doesn’t mean it’s not there or that other employers won’t see it either.