Staying positive in your job search

Let’s face it, most people don’t enjoy looking for a new job. The process can be frustrating and stressful. If we’re honest, most of us hate the uncertainty of not knowing when that job offer is finally going to be made.

Here are 5 things you can do to keep up your confidence and resilience while you are job searching:


1) Get support

Job searching can be a lonely business. It can also be stressful.  Things may not be happening as quickly as you would like. It’s at times like this when we really need support from other people. But the right people. Spend time talking to people you know will give you positive support. We need to seek out our ‘cheerleader’ friends, the ones that will lend a sympathetic ear but also believe in us and support us to stay positive until we reach our goal.

2) Make time to look after yourself

I wouldn’t recommend that you spend all day, every day job searching. You’ll be far more productive if you take time out to do things that you enjoy, such as walking in the fresh air, exercising, and  meeting friends. Doing things that nurture you. There’s no need to feel guilty if you’re not sitting at the computer all the time.

Of course, money can be an issue when you’re not working but going for a swim or a coffee with a friend doesn’t cost much and will make you feel refreshed and more productive when you go back to job searching later. Exercise is particularly good for raising levels of endorphins, generating feelings of well- being.

3) Develop your skills or do voluntary work

If you have been off work for more than three months, employers may ask you what you have been doing in that time. They are expecting to hear something positive, such as courses you have been on or voluntary work you have been involved in. Doing a course or voluntary work will have the added bonus of boosting your confidence and creating the opportunity for mixing with other people.

It can be a great time to objectively assess your skills, and take action on any gaps. As well as local colleges and other providers, there is now a wealth of free courses online. Check out The Open University – and

To search for voluntary work opportunities, check out for vacancies near you.

4) Have low expectations

When you are job searching to you have to remember that you are not in control of the recruitment process; the employer or agency is. It may take a lot longer than you imagined to hear back about the carefully crafted CV you posted, or the application form you spent ages filling in.  In some cases you may not hear back at all. You may even go for an interview and not hear anything for many days.  For most people this is annoying, frustrating and unforgivable. But unfortunately, this is often normal, so it’s better to lower your expectations and keep your frustration levels down.

In general, I find that people underestimate the time it will take for them to get hired, particularly at more senior levels. You have to bear in mind that there are fewer vacancies for senior roles, so it will take longer for suitable ones to come up.

5) Watch your ‘self talk’

Try not to keep sending negative messages to yourself if you’re not landing a job immediately. Thoughts such as ‘I’m no good’, ‘no one will want me’ ‘I have nothing to offer’ are not going to help you remain positive. Switch your thoughts to remembering some of your previous successes in your career and life. Remember other times when you found it tough, but it all turned out O.K. in the end.


Remember that although you may feel alone in your job search, at any time there are many others also experiencing what you are going through now – a roller coaster of ups and downs, of hope and despondency. These are just normal feelings connected to job searching. Using some of these strategies may help you find the process less stressful.  You never know, you may actually find yourself enjoying it !

If you feel I can be of any help with your applications, please select the ‘Winning Applications’ option from the Services/Coaching Options menu on my website.

Or get in touch via the Contact Page.