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Tips for staying positive during a job search

Updated: Mar 24, 2023

Job searching can be one of the most mentally taxing stages of a person's professional life. From dealing with the financial impacts to handling rejections, it can take a toll on mental health.

Finding ways to stay positive will not only help you stay focused and motivated, but it'll also allow you to maintain a level of confidence that's required for pulling off successful job interviews.

Below, I'm going to share four of the most helpful tactics that I've personally employed throughout my career to help me tackle those times I've been in-between jobs.

#1 Plan your approach

Once you finally make the decision to make a career move, or if you're in the unfortunate situation of having been let go, your very first step should be to develop an action plan that will outline the following:

  • Types of companies you want to work for

  • Types of roles you want to land

  • The type of environment you want to work in

  • The kind of culture you'd like to fit in with

  • The compensation you want

  • Allowance for career progression

This stage is also where you take the time to update your resume based on your stated goals and ensure your LinkedIn is clean, professional, and is focused. Make sure your resume and LinkedIn are on the same page and are communicating the same message - otherwise, you risk confusing prospective employers!

The other part of your plan involved creating a set time period where you apply for jobs. Whether or not you're employed, it's important to allocate a set amount of time per week to this because it creates a set structure and also gives you time to recharge and take your mind off the search once you're done.

#2 Define your goals

It's important to set achievable goals that don't cause you any mental stress.

Ask yourself what success would look like to you. Would landing three interviews per week be considered successful? Five? Ten?

Once you set your goal, work your way backwards to reverse engineer the process and arrive at the number of applications you would need to submit to arrive at your goal.

For example, if you want to land three job offers, you'll need nine final-round interviews (assuming one-third of your final rounds result in job offers).

To get to nine final-round interviews, you would need 27 first-round interviews.

To get to 27 interviews, you would need approximately online job 135 applications (assuming a callback rate of about 20%).

If you're networking through LinkedIn by reaching out to recruiters, you'd simply reverse engineer the process in the same way!


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#3 Let rejections roll of you

The sooner you can accept that rejections are a normal part of the process, the better off you'll be.

For every job offer that's sent out, there are hundreds of people that were rejected. It's unrealistic to think you're going to receive a job offer every time.

Avoid getting hung up on any one job, no matter how perfect of a fit it may seem for you. Do what you need to do and move on to the next one. Putting your eggs all into one basket is only going to lead to disappointment when that offer doesn't come in and could set your mindset back weeks.

#4 Don't fret about things that are outside of your control

After you've done your part, the ball has left your court. Continuing to worry about it after this point is only going to cost you precious mental health and focus that could be spent on things that YOU CAN control.

Some of the things you can focus your attention on are:

If you're not receiving any initial callbacks, assess possible reasons.

  • Is your resume properly targeted?

  • Does it properly communicate your qualifications?

  • Do you meet the essential job qualifications?

  • Does it contain grammar or spelling mistakes?

If you're not getting any job offers after interviewing, think back on possible reasons:

  • Are you selling yourself short?

  • Were you prepared for the interview questions?

  • Did you show up on time?

  • Did you give off enough enthusiasm?

  • Did you know enough about the company?

Use this introspection to continually improve your process. The worst thing you could do is repeat the same thing over and over despite seeing zero results.


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About the Author

James Cooper is a Professional Resume Writer, member of the Professional Association of Resume Writers & Career Coaches (PARWCC) and has been in the recruiting, career coaching, and writing business for almost 14 years. He began his career recruiting for AECOM, a Canadian engineering firm, and he's gone on to work with and help professionals land roles at top Fortune 500 companies.

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