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Look For Work

Stay Positive During Your Work Search

You know that looking for work is hard work. It 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. That can be discouraging, but it’s important to maintain a positive attitude.

A positive attitude will help you get through the challenges of searching for work. In fact, it’s a vital part of your work search. 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.

10 tips for staying positive

1. Understand the stages of job loss

If you’re looking for work because you’ve been laid off or fired, you may have to deal with a range of emotions before you’re ready to re-enter the job market. How you respond depends on your personality and circumstances.

For more information and help dealing with the stages of job loss, check out Dealing With Job Loss.

2. Take a positive approach to rejection

We all go through rejection at some time, so don’t let it erode your confidence. Instead, use rejection as an opportunity to learn.

  • Ask the employer for feedback on your application or interview.
  • Analyze your work search strategies and look for ways to improve. For example, rework your resumé or increase your networking activities.

3. 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 keep on track.

4. 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. Set aside 10 minutes a day for worrying and feeling down. When the time is up, move on.

5. 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, accept temporary work or take a job for which you’re overqualified.

At your workplace, look for opportunities to use your skills and abilities to make a good impression. This will add to your resumé and expand your network.

6. 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.

7. Nurture your hope

Hope is what helps you continue your work search day after day. Everyones experience of hope is unique, so take note of the things that make you feel hopeful. 

Set some short-term goals around activities that enhance your hope. These might include making art, listening to music, spending time with family and friends, reading, visiting a favourite park, playing street hockey or planting a garden.

If you’d like to learn more about hope, visit Hope House at 11032 - 89 Avenue, Edmonton, Alberta or call 780-492-1222. Or check out the Hope Foundation website at

8. Remember your successes

Keep a file of positive experiences. These might include thank-you notes, commendations, awards, performance appraisals and records detailing successful projects.

Read through the file often.

9. Stay active

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

10. 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. You’ll have less stress and more energy.

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.

The reward at the end is finding the job you want.

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