Updated: Oct 21, 2022
Let’s face it, job searching is hard. Not just because you’re dealing with rejection, but you are also your own toughest critic. Unending self-doubt and negative thoughts creep up on you, which can be overwhelming. We all go through moments when we feel like giving up and our confidence takes a hit. We become our own worst enemies as we nitpick our resumes and cover letters so much that we end up finding another flaw that needs fixing. Unfortunately, these negative thoughts can hinder your job search journey if left unchecked.
So how can you maintain a positive mindset during this challenging time? In this article, we will share 7 effective strategies to manage your mindset and overcome negative thoughts during the job search process:
Acknowledge your strengths
Take care of yourself
Reach out to positive people
Focus on the process
Practise positive mindset shifts
Job hunting is often an emotional process, with lots of ups and downs. There will be days you get encouraging news — a second interview, say, or a positive response from a hiring manager. But there will also be days, or even weeks, where you won’t hear from anyone, or you’ll get turned down for that job you were certain was yours.
The truth is your emotions can easily take control over your experiences.
The first step towards being successful in any endeavour is to improve your mindset, and this work should continue the rest of your life. A positive mindset allows you to have an inner calm in any situation, no matter how in-surmountable the obstacles may appear. You'll feel peace in your heart and mind, and a sense of joy getting up in the morning!
A strong positive mindset enables you to face adversity and overcome it, build positive relationships, experience success in business and career endeavours, and enjoy all aspects of your life.
The biggest obstacle you will have to overcome is your mind. If you can overcome that, you can overcome anything. marc and angel
1. Be Realistic
Job searching can be frustrating, but don’t let that build-up of frustration lower your self-worth. Be flexible and stay realistic by keeping your expectations in check. We aren’t all lucky enough to get that job offer after the first interview. It may take a few weeks, months, or even longer. There could be hundreds of other candidates in the running for the position. You might have to apply to hundreds of jobs before you finally get an interview. You could be rejected dozens of times without an explanation.
Find positive ways to deal with the frustration that comes with the job search process. Don’t let your frustration build up and consume your self-worth and confidence. Be realistic and accept that job searching is a slow process and that you need to be patient. This will help you stay grounded and not let your frustration knock you off course.
2. Practise Gratitude
When you’re knee deep in the job search process, it’s easy to forget how lucky you are. With the hustle and bustle of daily life, it’s easy to lose sight of gratitude. If you find yourself in a dark place, take some time out and practise gratitude. This can be anything from thanking yourself for all your hard work to appreciating having a roof over your head. You will be amazed by how gratitude can instantly turn your mood around. This will help you shift your focus from the negative to the positive.
Simple, but powerful! Each day, list five things that you are grateful for. Try getting into the habit of doing this in the morning as you write your to-do list for the day.
Alternatively, you can make it the last thing you do in the evening before you go to bed as a way to bring your focus to the things you most appreciated about your day.
Remember, your mind expands what you focus it on. Practising gratitude allows you to focus your mind on the positive.
3. Acknowledge Your Strengths
When you feel yourself becoming discouraged, take a moment to stop and think about something you like about yourself. Acknowledge yourself for your strengths, achievements and the value you bring to the work place. Remind yourself of your purpose for working, and why you're striving to achieve this next step in your career.
When we are going through the job search process, we tend to only focus on the areas we are lacking. You might have aced your interview but still be dwelling on the fact that you have less than a year’s experience in the field. At times, we tend to focus so much on the areas where we are lacking that we fail to acknowledge our strengths. Try to look at your resume and cover letter with a fresh pair of eyes and acknowledge your strengths. What is your strongest skill? How did you use that skill to solve a problem at work? What is your biggest achievement? What you focus on expands. If you focus on the areas you are lacking, you’ll become more critical of yourself. But if you focus on your strengths, you’ll have a positive outlook.
4. Take Care Of Yourself
When you’re knee deep in the job search, you don’t have time to take care of yourself. You’re too busy sending out applications, attending interviews, and updating your CV. You’ll have your days where you’ll feel like giving up and your self-worth and confidence will take a hit. Take care of yourself during these tough times. You don’t have to go all out and buy yourself a fancy dinner, but there are small things you can do to take care of yourself. Maybe you could take an hour out of your day to read a book in the sun or drink a cup of tea. Try listening to music or meditate for 5 minutes. These small things can help you manage your mindset and boost your confidence.
5. Reach Out
During the job search process, you’re bound to run into negative people. They might be your family members, friends, or colleagues who aren’t happy for you. Or they might be people who are just jealous of your job search journey. When you start to get down on yourself, surround yourself with positive people instead. Positive people will lift you up and help you stay grounded during the job search process. They will encourage you to keep going and be your biggest cheerleader.
Surround yourself with positive-minded people. Make time in your routine to grow these relationships and benefit from shared positivity. Always have someone you can talk with — a friend, a career coach, a trusted colleague — to help you sort through the emotions that will inevitably come up.
Now is a great time to connect with your professional network, and reach out for support, guidance and new opportunities.
6. Focus On The Process
When you feel like giving up and your confidence is at an all-time low, focus on the process. Take a step back and look at the big picture. How far have you come so far? Think about what you have done so far: You have created a resume and cover letter, applied to jobs, gone on interviews, been rejected, and learned from your mistakes. This process is long and tough, but it will eventually come to an end.
During these periods, try to concentrate on specific activities which will move you forwards one step at a time. Small positive steps can include:
Check for job openings and apply for a couple of positions that suit your experience.
Practise your interview question responses.
Attend in-person or virtual networking events to get to know potential employers.
Update your professional work portfolio.
Enrol in an online professional development course to improve your job related skills.
Engaging in these positive activities ease your frustration as you make some progress towards achieving your next job.
7. Practise Positive Mindset Shifts
Challenge yourself to notice any negative thoughts that pop into your head. Then re-write these thoughts so that they reflect a positive mindset.
It's normal for negative thoughts to pop into our heads throughout the day. The key is to recognise them, stop them in their tracks and turn them around.
Here are some examples:
I’m afraid I’ll make a mistake >>> Mistakes are how I learn
This is too hard >>> This may take some time and effort
I can’t do that >>> How can I get better at that?
Now, try re-writing these on your own:
I'm uncomfortable at networking events. I don't have what it takes to make new connections >>>
If I don't do an outstanding job, then I'm a total failure >>>
I'm so nervous; I know I'll blow the interview >>>
When you become aware of negative thoughts in your head, don’t beat yourself up. Take a breath, pull yourself out of it, shift your mindset and go again.
Managing your mindset during the job search process is important. But it’s also something that you can learn to do habitually. If you find yourself getting down on yourself or falling into a negative mindset, you can use the tips above to help.
Once you replace negative thoughts with positive ones, you'll start having positive results. - Willie Nelson
It’s important to remember that a job search is a process. You can’t expect results overnight. It takes a lot of hard work, perseverance, and patience. But the payoff at the end will be worth it.
Most importantly, remember that your worth is not determined by what job you get, or how many rejections you receive. There is much more to life than work, and your value as a person cannot be summarised by a pay-cheque!
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