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For Work

Stay Positive During Your Work Search

Looking for work takes time, energy, and commitment. Even with a strong resumé and well-developed work search skills, it may take you more time than you expect to land a job. An upbeat approach helps.


An optimistic attitude will help you get through the challenges of searching for work. In fact, it’s vital. Your self-confidence comes from your positive attitude, and employers want to hire people who believe in themselves.

The following suggestions can help you stay positive and self-confident during your work search.

1. Talk about your work search

Share any emotional highs and lows you may be feeling with family, friends, and helping professionals such as counsellors, psychologists, teachers, or religious leaders. Talking about your experiences will help you stay on track. Keeping a journal can also help you express your fears and frustrations.

Use the form below to brainstorm who can be part of your support network as you look for work.

2. Reframe your thoughts to maintain your confidence

Refuse to use words like can’t, never, hopeless, and impossible. Instead, say I can and I will. Try to reframe your self-defeating thoughts. Set aside 10 minutes a day for worrying and feeling down. When the time is up, move on.

If you experience rejection, take specific actions to keep yourself positive. For example, rework your resumé or move your networking activities into high gear.

3. Use your skills and abilities

Nothing boosts hope like feeling that you have something to offer.

Be confident and look for ways to demonstrate your skills and abilities. Volunteer or accept temporary work for which you may be overqualified.

Try to pursue several job opportunities at once rather than focus all your energy and hopes on one application. That way, if one option doesn’t work out, you’ll already have others on the go.

Once you’re at a new workplace, look for opportunities to use your skills and abilities to add value. This will add to your resumé and expand your network.

4. Keep learning and growing

Keep your skills and knowledge up-to-date. Read about your work or areas of interest. Take short courses or special training. Or attend conferences or workshops.

5. Nurture your hope

Hope is what helps you continue your work search day after day. Everyone’s experience of hope is unique, so take note of the things that make you feel hopeful and find ways to include them in your daily routines.

If you’d like to learn more about hope, browse the resources at the Hope Studies Central website.

6. Remember your successes

Keep a record of positive experiences. These might include thank-you notes, commendations, awards, performance appraisals, and records detailing successful projects. Or it could be as simple as listing the things you like about yourself or the nice things others have said about you.

Read through the list regularly.

7. Stay active

Pick a physical activity you enjoy and go for it. Walk, bike, swim, ski, jog, join a team sport, or work out at the gym. 10 minutes on the move can make a world of difference to how you feel.

8. Be kind to yourself

Give yourself a break and look for things to laugh about. Reward yourself when you’ve worked hard. Take some guilt-free time to do something you really enjoy, like visiting a museum, drawing, watching a favourite movie, or taking a relaxing bath. 

9. Do activities you enjoy

Plan some activities that you like to do on your own and with other people. You’ll have less stress and more energy. These could include:

  • Making art
  • Listening to music
  • Spending time with family and friends
  • Reading
  • Visiting a favourite park
  • Enjoying time with a pet
  • Planting a garden

A positive attitude gets rewarded

Looking for work takes a lot of energy—mentally, physically, and emotionally. Handling the inevitable ups and downs of your work search is much easier when you take steps to maintain your positive attitude and renew your sense of hope. Once you land your new job, you’ll be able to bring many of these positive new habits and behaviours with you. The positive attitude you’re developing now will be key to finding success and personal fulfilment throughout your career.

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