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I'm feeling discouraged. How do I stay positive during my work search?

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If you’re an optimist, you may have started your work search assuming you’d land a great job quickly. If those early days have turned into weeks or months, your enthusiasm may be flagging.

But a positive attitude is key to finding work, so it’s essential to stay upbeat. Employers like to see confidence, but it’s hard to project this once deep discouragement sets in.

A career advisor on the Alberta Career Information Hotline may be able to offer some new ideas to keep you motivated. A career counsellor at an Alberta Works Centre can be encouraging, too.

Why Haven’t You Found a Job Yet?

When considering why it’s taking some time to find a job, ask yourself a few questions:

Another important factor in finding a job is luck—yes, luck. Sometimes it’s really just about being in the right place at the right time.

If you’re seeking work in a field where demand isn’t strong, your search may take longer, or you may need to start with something less than your ideal, and plan to advance from there.

What Can You Do About It?

If your job search efforts haven’t paid off yet, don’t take it personally or assume it will never happen. Instead, revisit your resumé and cover letter, keep talking to people and, most importantly, hang in there.

Even if you’re a very confident person, rejection is tough to handle. Here are a few tips for staying positive:

  • Learn from rejection. When you don’t get a job, ask the employer for feedback on your application or interview so you can do better next time.
  • Chat regularly with friends, family and professionals in your network about your work search. They can empathize, and they may have opportunities to offer.
  • Volunteer. Choose an organization where your contribution will harness your skills. It will give you a sense of purpose and add experience to your resumé.
  • Relive your successes. If you’ve held on to reference letters, awards or performance appraisals, review them periodically as reminders of your strengths.
  • Exercise. Physical exertion elevates mood, so it’s good for your mental health as well as your physical condition.
  • Reward yourself. Looking for work is a job like any other, so you deserve breaks from it. Spend your free time doing things you enjoy, guilt-free.

The road to the perfect job may throw you a few curves, but if you stay positive, you will eventually find yourself doing work you can feel good about.