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Hanging on to Hope During a Long Job Search

The long term unemployed are not emotionally thriving, according to a new Gallup poll.The results are probably not a surprise for anyone involved in a lengthy job search.  As weeks of unemployment increase, so do worry, sadness, stress and anger. Ultimately depression strikes more than a quarter of those out of work for longer than 11 weeks, nearly double the rate of depression for all adults.

There is hope. In fact, hope is the key to thriving during a job search. The survey revealed that those who are hopeful about their job prospects do better emotionally than those who are not.  Finding reasons to be hopeful is critical to your success.  Here are five ways to hang on to hope:

Focus on success stories. Remind yourself that people do break out of long term unemployment. Just because you’ve been out of work for awhile, does not mean you will never work again.  Read the recent Jobfully blog on people who found work after long job searches.  Many Jobfully users were long-term unemployed, and have successfully found new work they enjoy.  You, too, can be a success story.

Lay good groundwork. The Gallup survey showed negative feelings increased as job seekers applied for more jobs.  Applying for lots of jobs without inside connections is a non productive path.  Networking is the best way to generate job leads and ultimately get hired.  Effective networkers apply for fewer jobs but get more interviews and job offers. Pave the way for future success by building a robust network. Be optimistic that your efforts will pay off even if the results are not immediately obvious.

Remember your skills are valuable. Review your past successes as a reminder that you have what it takes. With your achievements as evidence, show each potential employer how those skills can solve their problems.

Have a strategy. This is vital to remaining hopeful because daily activities are part of a larger plan which leads to success.  Activities without a plan may make you feel busy, but are ultimately random and fruitless. Having a strategy and a plan, each activity advances you toward the end goal. If you do not have a strategy read: Creating a Job Search Strategy. Find out how Jobfully can help you create one.

Be optimistic. Just as bitterness hurts your job search, a great attitude filled with optimism shows through in interviews and networking encounters.  Don’t mar your optimism by obsessing on negative news reports. Instead, do positive affirmations and focus on what you can control. Track and celebrate your successes and let your optimism shine through.

The Gallup survey highlighted a vicious circle. People lose hope which causes negative feelings, which hurts their job search, causing more loss of hope. Don’t let this happen to you. Instead create a cycle of optimism with affirmations and a belief that you have what it takes to break out of unemployment and find satisfying work.

More on staying optimistic during a job search:

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