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woman climbing out of dark hole


This week, I witnessed four different job candidates go into a complete tailspin as they tried to figure out how their interviews were going.

There was self-doubt, frustration, disappointment. There were tears.

So many of you are in this situation. The fact is, being in job search – especially when you aren’t currently working – can be really hard. That challenge has been compounded in our pandemic world. You’re sending out resumes, often with no response. You’re interviewing, and then hear nothing for weeks before receiving the automated rejection email. And then there are those times you are a finalist for the role only to learn you came in second – but with no feedback about what tipped the scales out of your favor.

It’s easy to create a pretty bleak story based on assumptions resulting in, at best, a hit to your confidence, and, at worst, a self-sabotaging attitude as you continue your job search.

So how do you get out of your head and stay positive?

Just saying, “Get out of your head!” isn’t going to help, and I’m not here to tell you your feelings aren’t real. But finding ways to move past the grief and get back in the game is one of the single most effective things you can do for yourself in job search. In fact, I did a podcast on this very topic more than a year ago. In that episode, I recommended the book, “The Four Agreements,” by Don Miguel Ruiz, to help guide you through those moments where the story you’re telling yourself isn’t serving you well. I still recommend that book.

Here are a few things you can do to get out of your head and stay positive during your search.

Find support with others
Unfortunately, the experiences I described above might sound familiar to you because it’s happening to a lot of people. It goes without saying that the recruiting process could be more considerate to candidates who don’t get the job. But since that’s not a problem we can solve today, there are ways to support yourself and others in the job search process. Find a group of others who are also in search and create an accountability group. (Marketing and communication professionals can find support in my Job Search Success Team.) By sharing ideas about how to best navigate your search, offering encouragement and even spending a little time commiserating with each other (but only a little), it will be easier to pick yourself up if rejected for a role you wanted, and keep the search momentum going.

Do things you enjoy while you have the time
When focused on getting a job, many people believe they must spend eight hours a day scouring job boards, revising resumes and networking. All important activities in job search, but be sure to carve out time for activities you actually enjoy. Reward yourself for productivity. Go for a midday hike. Play a round of golf. Spend time with your kids. This time may not be available once you’re back at work. It’s good to clear your head, reenergize and have a little fun. (There’s research to back up the idea that having fun actually makes you more creative and productive. If you need a justification. Read this HBR article.)

Practice positivity
Sometimes job search can make you feel kicked while you’re down. Create a positivity practice for yourself. Meditate. Exercise. Watch motivational TED Talks. What helps you feel good physically, mentally and spiritually? Being your best, most positive self right now will help you make a better impression with every job interview and every networking conversation. That positivity is contagious and will help others help you get closer to the job that’s right for you.

If you think a job search accountability group could help energize your job search, check out the Linsey Careers Job Search Success Team.  Gain support and inspiration from like-minded communications and marketing pros, and a little group coaching from me.