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How to Stay Positive in Your Job Search, Even During a Pandemic

It’s impossible to read the news, turn on the TV or go online and not see a story on rising unemployment figures, sinking economic projections or mass layoffs. Not to mention the pandemic. The impact this constant barrage of negative news can have on a job seeker is hard to escape. Finding a job, not to mention the right job, is challenging under the best conditions, but even more so given the current health crisis. So, without disconnecting from society – or at least the media – is it possible to stay positive during your job search? Yes!

1. You can’t control your circumstance, but you can control your attitude.

Whether you have lost your job because of the pandemic, or have been furloughed, unemployment is hard. And, although you can’t control the circumstances, you can control your reaction to them. Allow yourself a healthy period to grieve and then pick yourself up and dust yourself off. Find a glimmer of hope or a positive outcome and go with it. This will help you move on a lot more quickly, which is imperative to beginning your search – and for staying positive.

2. Remember that companies are still hiring.

Even with unemployment at 13% that means 87% of the workforce is still employed and no matter the economic climate, hiring is always taking place. People leave their jobs willingly every day to change roles, retire, move, raise families, return to school, start their own ventures or volunteer. Each one of these circumstances leaves an opening. And, although the pandemic, and resulting quarantine, has dramatically impacted millions of jobs, it has also created real opportunity in other areas like customer service, delivery, manufacturing and healthcare.

3. Consider contract work or a temporary career change.

Working in a contract assignment might not be your long-term goal, but it does have many benefits, including generating income and remaining in the workforce. Additionally, your skills will be kept up-to-date – or you might learn some new ones – and you will have the opportunity to network and meet people who can help advance your job search. Likewise, a temporary change in careers can also keep you employed. And, trust us, no future employer is going to hold it against you that you were an Instacart shopper or a Amazon picker during the pandemic – they will appreciate your work ethic and resilience.

4. Celebrate your wins, big and small.

As part of your job search, you will certainly set goals for yourself – the number of networking calls you will have each week…how many jobs you apply for each day…the hours you will dedicate to researching opportunities. Feel good about completing your objectives and find ways to celebrate your accomplishments. Zoom with your friends over cocktails and share your updates, spend an extra hour in the garden or snuggling with your dog, or pick up a good book. Congratulate yourself on meeting your goals, but don’t get off track or lose momentum!

5. Stay safe and manage your stress.

The pandemic has been anxiety-inducing for everyone, especially for people who are unemployed. After keeping yourself and your loved ones safe, job searching should be your first priority, but managing your stress should also be near the top of your list. Stress can be palpable and you don’t want to present yourself to prospective employers or networking contacts as someone who is desperate or will crack under pressure. So, whether it’s an online yoga class or walking around the block, find what works for you and incorporate it into your daily routine. It will go a long way in helping you to stay positive.

6. Don’t become obsessed with checking your messages.

We’ve all done it – sent an email (or in a job seeker’s case, multiple resumes in response to postings found online) and then compulsively checked our inbox over and over to see if we have mail. The same thing happens with voice mail, IMs, text messages and social media, including LinkedIn. There is no doubt that technology allows us to be ultra-connected, but it also can be frustrating when the level of responsiveness is not equal. The reality is you won’t hear from every company you submit your resume to, or every hiring manager that has interviewed you, so don’t become obsessed with continual checking. Access your voice mail and email regularly (and set up the appropriate push notifications) – and then let it go.

7. Hang out with your friends, even from six feet away.

Even though it’s important to continue social distancing, this is not the time to shy away from connecting with your family and friends, or to be embarrassed about your situation. During hard times, we should turn toward our support systems and not away from them. People who care about you will love you for the reasons they always have – and chances are that wasn’t because of your job. Having people around you that care, even if virtually, will build your confidence and may even lead to new opportunities.

8. Remember you’re not alone.

While it might mean there is more competition for each job opening, knowing that you aren’t alone in your plight should bring you some comfort. Seek out online networking and support groups to share your frustrations, successes and even leads. The more people you talk to, the more doors that will be opened and the more opportunities for you to be hopeful and to stay positive.

photo credit: Canva

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