How to Stay Up When Your Job Search Has You Feeling Down

Most people find themselves out of work at some point in their career. But if you’re one of the 319 million Amerians who are unemployed right now, you’ll know staying positive and proactive in your job hunt can be a lot easier said than done.

Repeated rejections can take a toll. On your confidence and outlook as much as your finances. But does being unemployed have to mean being miserable? Of course not.

If you are out of work (or fear you may be soon), below are six practical strategies to help you differentiate yourself from other job seekers, build your resume outside the workplace and land yourself a great job despite the odds.

Spread the Word

The more people who know that you are looking for a new job, the more people who can help you land one. Most people really do want to help, but they need to know how they can help. Never underestimate the power of social networks when it comes to building your career, growing your business or finding work. Nothing beats a word of mouth referral or recommendation.

Stay Upbeat

Let’s face it; being out of work can be a joyless experience, but there is nothing to be gained by spending your time getting down on yourself or sharing your story of victimhood with anyone who cares to listen. Potential employers are far more attracted to confident and positive people who have made the most of their extra time out of. If you do your best to stay in positive conversations, focus on what you can do versus what you can’t and refuse to get stuck in complaining, then you will find it far easier stay up even when things are getting you down.

Tighten Your Belt

When you suddenly become unemployed, you may need to adjust your budget and stretch whatever severance you received as much as you can. If you qualify for unemployment benefits, you should register for them. You can always cancel them if you find work before they kick in. Putting first things first could mean that you have to cancel the cable, cook in more often and hire a DVD rather than head to the movies. Don’t let your pride get in the way of being smart and responsible with your money.

Be Open To Opportunities

As I wrote in my recent book Brave: 50 Everyday Acts of Courage to Thrive in Work, Love and Life (,  there is always opportunity in adversity. Always. But those who find the opportunity will be those who are out there looking for it, persevering in the face of rejections and doing the preparation they need to do so that when opportunity arises, they are ready to seize it! Again, don’t let your pride trip you up from something that could lead to bigger and better things and pay the bills in the interim!

Stay Healthy

Or if you aren’t healthy now, focus on improving it! Being out of work heightens stress, and being stressed lowers the immune system.   So while there is never a good time to be sick, when you are in the job market (and your health insurance premium has increased because of that), it is a really bad time to get sick. So make your health and wellbeing — body, mind and spirit — a top priority. Take time every day to do something that lifts your spirit, that strengthens your body and that keeps your mind sharp.

Get Organized

Make looking for a job your new job. Schedule time every day to do something that moves you forward toward that goal, whether directly (by sending off an application, polishing your resume or making follow up phone calls) or indirectly by gaining skills that will make you a more attractive candidate. If there’s one thing that most people in full time jobs complain about, it’s not having enough time to do everything else they want to do outside the office. Now that you have time on your hands, use it wisely! Keep a written log of jobs you’ve applied for and leads you need to follow up on. In short, get organized and make the most of each and every day!

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