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Accentuate the Positive


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It's not always easy to keep a positive outlook during your job search. Here are a few tips for staying upbeat.

By Richard Dedor
You are a passionate, dedicated, hardworking person. So am I, and my own experience has shown me that maintaining a positive attitude is nearly half the battle in searching for a job. I have been through tough job searches, so I know firsthand that this is often the hardest thing for passionate, dedicated, hardworking people to do.
When all you may get is rejection, how do you keep a positive attitude? Here are three specific tips for accentuating the positive.

Eliminate the Negative

A positive attitude breeds positive responses. It sounds simple, but when you're in the thick of submitting dozens of job applications and you're receiving zero responses, or you can't seem to get past the first round of interviews, it's hard to maintain a positive outlook. That's why this advice is so important. 
You find out what you're made of during a job search. You learn how resilient you are and gain new insight into your values and strengths. 
Bringing the wrong person onboard can be expensive and disruptive, so hiring managers are on the lookout for clues to how interviewees will fit with their organizations' cultures. According to Alison Green, who writes the popular "Ask a Manager" blog and is coauthor of Managing to Change the World: The Nonprofit Manager's Guide to Getting Results, "No matter how skilled you are, most employers don't want to hire someone who's high maintenance, rude, negative, volatile, or overly sensitive."
Eliminate the negative by approaching each phone and in-person interview with confidence and energy. Believe: "This organization needs me." If you can approach your engagements with prospective employers in this frame of mind, you are setting yourself up to convey the enthusiasm that employers are seeking. You are also more likely to make a great connection and a lasting positive impression. Plus, you'll be able to take that energy into the next day of searching and networking and beyond.

Keep a Routine

Sticking to a routine is a great way to stay energetic and positive during a job search. If you normally work out on Tuesdays at 7 a.m., you should keep doing it. If you do a girls' night out on Thursday, keep doing it. Routine activities like this help you blow off steam and maintain your vigor. They also bring you into contact with people who care about you—people who can provide affirmation, serve as a sounding board, and help you reset your attitude.
In addition to engaging in regular outside activities, I recommend setting events on your calendar for when you'll read industry news, send prospecting emails, and apply for jobs.
Sure, it's OK to take a few days off here and there, but keeping a routine for personal and professional activities is an easy way to assert control over what can feel like an out-of-control situation.

Embrace the Challenge and Opportunity

You find out what you're made of during a job search. You learn how resilient you are and gain new insight into your values and strengths.
To borrow a popular phrase, "lean in" to the reactions you are receiving from prospective employers. Reflect on what's happening, and make a list of the stumbling blocks you've encountered. Then do some sleuthing for new approaches and put them into action. Embracing the challenges of a job search in this manner can have the added benefit of opening up new areas of opportunity that you may not have thought of before. It can also provide you new perspectives on how to put your passion into action.
We all know life isn't pretty sometimes, but it's how you respond to the tough moments that can make all the difference in the world. Getting through a job search, especially one not undertaken on your own terms, isn't easy, but these tips can help. I know because they worked for me. Keep your chin up. Brighter days are coming, and it starts with you.
Richard Dedor is a speaking, training, and life-coaching consultant and the author of Anything Is Possible.

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