5 ways to remain positive when you just can’t get a job

November is midway, December is in sight, the year is running to an end and yet, things have not changed for you. You started the year with hopes to get employed, or you lost your job in the course of the year, but no new job is forthcoming. You have submitted countless resumes and attended numerous interviews with nothing to show. Motivation is dwindling, inspiration is drying up and it seems like you just can’t get anything right. You are tired of depending on parents and friends for money to offset little bills and life seems to be a living hell. Well, what I have to say to you is that all hope is not lost.

The first and most important thing to do is to find ways to REMAIN POSITIVE. This is because a positive mindset brings about positive realities. If you begin to think of yourself as a total failure, chances are that things will continue to fail for you. But the moment you stay focused on the positive thoughts, you will naturally attract positive outcomes. It may seem hard to do, but I have, with the help of the MUSE, compiled five ways to remain positive even when it seems you can’t get a job.

Refuse to Cave

Jenny Foss has this to say: “Through each of the toughest challenges I’ve navigated—in my career, in my personal life, and in multiple running races—I’ve busted out an important coping strategy. It’s almost embarrassing how simple it is, but I’m telling you, it works. I just remind myself that I will not cave, period.

No matter how hard, how maddening, or how gut-wrenching the situation, my first order of business is to smack myself across the head with the simple message, “I will not cave. Caving is not an option.” And once I’ve re-committed to weathering the storm? I’m equipped to deploy one of the strategies below.

ways to remain positive

Repurpose Pep Talks and Recovery Strategies From Your Past

You’ve committed to not caving, which is terrific. Now what?

Try recalling specific moments from your past where you simply had to rally and, when you did, you ultimately prevailed (or progressed). Did you play sports in high school or college? Have you completed some sort of difficult competition that challenged you physically or mentally? Did you recover from a terrible breakup? Of course you did. We all have something.

Flash back to the specific strategies and mental pep talks you used through these times, and apply similar ones to this very situation. Sometimes, in our panic and despair, we forget how awesome and powerful we were in overcoming an earlier curveball, mess, or conundrum. When you realize you’ve done it before, it will help you to remind yourself that you can—and will—weather this one, too.

Spend Energy Only on Things You Can Control

So, here’s the thing. You can’t will your resume to pass through a prospective employer’s resume scanning software. You can’t make a recruiter call you back at the exact moment you want to hear from her. You can’t influence how many other qualified candidates apply for a job. These are the types of things you simply cannot control; thus, you shouldn’t waste another second dwelling on them.

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Focus your energy instead on what you can. Literally, make a list of the aspects of this job search that you can influence or impact. Maybe you decide to call that person at your dream company who your friend knows. Maybe you figure out—once and for all—how to use LinkedIn to your advantage. Maybe you take an online Excel course to shore up a required skill. By thoughtfully considering what you can control—and then acting on these things—you can get out of ruminate mode and make moves that may actually be helpful.

 Turn it Into a Game, One That You Intend to Win

When survivors of major catastrophes are interviewed, it’s not uncommon to hear that they attribute their ability to stay alive to gamification. They didn’t panic, nor give up. Rather, they navigated through the situation as if they were playing a game of strategy, one that they intended to win. I often encourage distressed job seekers to view their entire job search in much the same manner.

Most of us enjoy winning games. We like to feel like we’ve outwitted the competition, figured out the winning formula, or found the secret passageway. Do this with the job hunt. Set up mental milestones, with each one serving as a victory once achieved. It’s incredible how one’s perspective can change when you shift something that most people think is terrible into a spirited, strategic undertaking.

Get Help

We are humans, not machines. And when things don’t go as planned, we sometimes begin feeling very sad, mad, or hopeless. Job search almost always requires stamina, sometimes tons of it. If you’re feeling distraught to the point that it’s disabling you, for heaven’s sake, don’t go it alone.

Raise your hand and let the closest and most supportive people around you know you need help. Tell those you trust of your struggles, and if you know how they can help, be specific so they lighten your load in a way that will be meaningful. If you need to, contact a professional career coach, or even a therapist. Every one of us needs more than just a pep talk from time to time, and there’s absolutely no shame in that.

Developing resiliency isn’t easy. But it’s vital for anyone in the midst of a lengthy job hunt. Pause and take a few deep breaths if you need to, absolutely. But then strap on your boots then find some new ways to muck your way to victory.

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