After being unemployed for a year or more, many job seekers become disillusioned. Their confidence wanes and doubts loom large. As the unemployment rate drops, many of those on the long-term unemployment rolls just give up.
Before you lose hope, run out of steam or lose yourself in depression, take a few simple steps to boost your energy. You can be assured that the job market will respond. After developing a more positive outlook and thinking differently about your talents and energy levels, you may just land work that suits your new outlook and complements your bank account. Try these five tips to get your search back on track.
Help Someone Else
It’s easy to wind up full of self-pity, thinking you have it worse than anyone and may never find satisfying work again. Instead, use what little energy you may have left to help someone else. Take on a fellow unemployed friend and offer to redo her resume. Brainstorm with a group of job-hunters about where they might find work. Volunteer at the local homeless shelter and counsel visitors about the services available to help get them back on their feet. The acts of selflessness truly reflect on your own talents that others can’t help but notice. And giving always boosts your mood.
Broaden Your Outlook
Many unemployed workers talk about their job loss with gratitude because it gave them the chance to try something they’ve always wanted to do. Those who always wanted to be their own bosses, for example, find fulfillment in self-employment after a job loss. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, in 2011 there were 22.5 million businesses that counted the owner as the only employee, up 2 percent from 2010. Even if you just change occupations, looking for work in an entirely new industry can kick-start a second chance at success. Get excited and go back to school or start at the bottom in a new field and work your way back up to the top.
Develop an Attitude of Gratitude
It’s surprising how “lucky” people get when they change their attitudes. Focusing on the negative keeps you stuck in a victim mode, angry and resentful. Placing your focus on the positive things in your life, such as your health, your family and your friends ensures you’ll stay upbeat and optimistic. This kind of attitude is striking during interviews where recruiters notice the twinkle in your eyes. They want a positive, optimistic person in the shop or office, not an old grumpy-pants. Write a list of everything you have to be grateful for and review it every morning before you begin your job search.
Surround Yourself with Positive People
Just as you can be contagious and infect others with your love of life, the same is true in reverse. It’s often difficult to make yourself be happy or grateful, but you’ll find that when you hang out with upbeat people, you end up feeling the same. Get positive through osmosis by joining a group of optimistic and fun networkers and do lunch only with people who support you and lift you up. Watch upbeat movies and read motivating books and articles.
Build in Vacations
Even though you may be low on funds, schedule regular fun days and set aside time to relax while you continue with your job search. Occasionally allow yourself a whole day during which you don’t even turn on your computer. Plan a drive to the mountains or the beach and stay with a friend or camp out as if you hadn’t a care in the world. Babysit your grand-kids once a month or take in a friend’s bouncing baby a few hours every week. The breaks give you time to breathe, re-energize and remember your priorities.
Job hunting can serve as the motivating factor you need to turn your life around and enjoy satisfaction as a result of your efforts once again. Refreshed and recommitted, you will attract employers who have plenty of opportunities for an upbeat, well-rounded worker. It doesn’t take major changes to make a huge difference in how you perceive your situation and conversely, how others look at you.