Six Ways to Stay Positive During a Tough Job Hunt

Last Updated May 12, 2009 7:52 AM EDT

The Takeaway: Pouring resumes into the endless black pit of HR department emails and shaking hands at networking events until your palm is sore can be among the most soul crushing of activities â€" and that's even before you consider the impact on your self-esteem and daily rhythms that came with losing your previous job. But realizing the deep unpleasantness of the situation facing millions of Americans right now is not the same thing as giving in to despair, and recruitment expert Olson suggests there are at least six things job seekers can do to stay positive during a grueling job hunt. Her advice:
  1. Take responsibility for your happiness: When you let a potential employer, or anyone else for that matter, control your feelings, you'll never end up very happy. Happiness, bitterness, or frustration are all choices. How you decide to react to any situation in a job search is up to you.
  2. Reward yourself for the small successes along the way: Celebrate when you get a phone interview or second-round interview. OK, it's not a job offer, but it's a step in the right direction. Even if you aren't selected for the job, it means your resume is communicating the right things to a potential employer.
  3. Find a job search partner and surround yourself with positive people: Networking should play a huge part in your job search, however, if you find yourself surrounded by "Debbie Downers", find another group!
  4. Set goals. Get up and get out: Don't allow yourself to sleep in and lounge around. Take your job search seriously and search every single day. Set daily goals and track your progress.
  5. Find time to do things you enjoy: Keeping your life balanced will help you stay positive and keep things in perspective. Explore a new hobby. Catch up on your reading list. Eat right and exercise!
  6. Consider exploring a cause you are passionate about through part-time volunteer work.: Not only can volunteering lead to possible job leads and new connections, but it's a good way to add structure to your days and feel like you are contributing to a positive cause.
Olson also points out that more positive candidates are more likely to be hired.

The Question: Do any job search veterans have more advice on how to keep a healthy frame of mind while looking for work?

(Image of positive desk sign by, CC 2.0)

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    Jessica lives in London where she works as a freelance writer with interests in green business and tech, management, and marketing.