Career Advice

Your Attitude is Your Worst Enemy During a Job Search

Understandably, searching for a new job is stressful. You’ve been in the same career for over 20 years and without warning, get laid off. Your life pretty much flashes before your eyes and you start thinking about all the worst things that could possibly happen, like not being able to pay the mortgage. This is undoubtedly one of the worst events that can happen in someone’s lifetime.

During this transition, it’s important that you keep it together. Don’t panic. Easier said than done, I know, but it’s literally the worst thing you can do. Stressing about things you cannot control never helped anyone – and yes, this sounds like a psychology session. Well, it sort of is.

Fear and anxiety are said to be contagious behaviors, so not only does this affect your family and friends around you, it affects every aspect of your job search. People can sense when there’s something wrong by the tone in your voice, your body movements, facial expressions, and even down to how hard you are trying to come across as the best candidate for the job on your resume. Yes that’s right, trying to hard can be seen as a sign of desperation which can be a symptom of fear and anxiety.

As a resume writer and career coach for nearly two decades, I have been the punching bag of emotions from job seekers who have no where else to turn in a lot of cases. They take their frustrations out on the ones trying to help them, which is counterproductive, rather than harnessing that energy to focus on what’s needed to achieve the end goal.

Now, this is not mean to sound like a “woe is me” sob story about how those of us in the career services industry are verbally abused by stressed out clients – but a testimony of what I’ve observed over the many years of helping job seekers overcome these attitudes that are not only breaking down the communications they have with others, but passing up opportunities by letting their worst fears get inside of their heads to the point of self destruction.

Let me give you a few tips to help you out if you are reading this and experiencing this issue yourself.

  1. Stay focused on the goal no matter what it takes. Don’t be distracted by bad-news articles about the economy or job market layoffs. This will only keep you reminiscing on what happened to you and give you a victimhood mentality which never helps anyone move forward.
  2. Freshen up your resume. This is probably one of the most overlooked aspects of a job search, still, to this day. Odd as it may seem with all of the technology at our fingertips, there are so many folks out there who just ignore their resume until it’s too late and they’ve wasted weeks or months sending an outdated presentation to potential employers. By then, many opportunities have been missed due to negligence of the most important first impression you could make. If you struggle writing about yourself or formatting documents (which most people do), it may be a good idea to hire a resume writer.
  3. Make time for loved ones and try to keep the daily routine going. Any other disruptions in the “norm” of life can add to the stress and make things worse.
  4. Dedicate a certain amount of time, whether it be 30 minutes to an hour or two every other day to scouring the internet job boards for new openings, and apply directly to those positions. Make sure you have a targeted resume for each job you apply to or you run the risk of being automatically rejected by the software. If you are just posting your resume online to see who bites, keep a second version of your resume handy that is more generalized for this purpose.
  5. Last but not least, keep a positive attitude. This storm will pass and the calm will come once again.

This is a mental game and you need to take control of the situation. You can’t control losing your past position, but you can control the outcome by staying focused and allowing new doors to open. It may take some time, so patience is also key.

If you need help preparing a resume, you can choose one of our resume packages to make sure you have the best possible presentation going forward – as this is the first (and most important) step in the job-search process.