Many quality people have been laid off during this tough economy. Moreover, quality students are graduating from colleges and earning advanced degrees with no job on the horizon. Yet some ordinary people are finding jobs, but how? They keep themselves positive and energized throughout the job search like an ancient hero on a quest who keeps his eyes on the prize.
The secret to a successful job search is optimism. Initially, this is easy. Filled with hope, you send out resumes, make calls, go on interviews, but if you haven’t landed a job yet, self-doubt and negativity set in. Stress will sabotage your job search, subtly and subconsciously seeping through your tone and body language during your interview. To go the distance according to a study from Georgia Tech a person “has to have the ability to stay energized and keep negative emotions under control over time.” Ruth Kanfer, a psychology professor at Georgia Tech and one of the study’s co-authors, emphasizes the important role of self-management during the job search process.
Self-management makes great sense because if you can manage yourself, cope with stress, during this difficult journey, you will be able to manage your work load and colleagues. And this journey is difficult because as this study emphasizes, you basically don’t get feedback. You either get a job or you don’t. How can you tell if you are improving and getting closer to your goal?
4 strategies to keep job motivation high:
- Find a role model to keep you inspired, someone whose struggles you can identify with and who has achieved his or her goal. Their story can be your story. Their journey, even if it is fictional, will allow you to rehearse in your imagination like a parallel simulation. Your “mentor” can be a historical figure, a fictional character from a novel or a movie, an athlete, or a figure from the Bible or mythology. Ask yourself when you feel dejected, “What would my role model do or say? How would my role model find it within?”
- Share your feelings with your friends to tap into positive energy. Good moods are contagious. Also, get their opinions and evaluations. Establish accountability for continuing your job search.
- Boost your confidence by practicing for interviews. Read about the company, learn the information and ask yourself tough questions for which you prepare quality answers. Write your own script and rehearse it with friends and family. Maybe practice doesn’t make perfect, but practice does lead to improvement.
- Get your stress under control which includes a voice that trembles, a posture out of alignment and either talking too much, or too little. Exercise to move stress out of the body and improve your focus. Breathe deeply (10 rhythmic breaths inhaling 2 counts and exhaling 4 counts) to center yourself. Visualize successfully completing the interview which means getting the job.
Debbie Mandel, MA is the author of Addicted to Stress: A Woman's 7 Step Program to Reclaim Joy and Spontaneity in Life
, Changing Habits: The Caregivers' Total Workout
and Turn On Your Inner Light: Fitness for Body, Mind and Soul,
a stress-reduction specialist, motivational speaker, a personal trainer and mind/body lecturer. She is the host of the weekly Turn On Your Inner Light Show on WGBB AM1240 in New York City , produces a weekly wellness newsletter, and has been featured on radio/ TV and print media. To learn more visit: www.turnonyourinnerlight.com