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Attitude Counts During Your Job Search
By Kim Little
Searching for a job is tough, frustrating and time consuming. Weeks can drag into months if you don't stay focused. However, the worst thing you can do is become discouraged. This is easier said than done, but with positive thinking, you can overcome thoughts and emotions that may prevent you from getting the job you want.
Decide what you want in your career, and follow through.
If you're looking for a particular position and don't find it right away, don't give up. You can try to temp in the position or for the company you're targeting. Free-lance work, if it's possible in your field, is another option, or you can volunteer (think of the contacts you could make). But don't let a week or two of not hearing from employers discourage you, and don't accept a position you know you'll hate, even if the salary is tempting.

Do your research.

Information is a powerful tool. Use the library, Internet and local chamber of commerce to learn about various companies and how they operate. Try to arrange an informational interview with an employer in the industry you're targeting or even with your top-choice company, just to see if you'd like it.

Stay informed about businesses in your area and their successes and failures.

When you're interviewing and the talk turns to regional business, your knowledge will show you're aware of the local community and economy.

As a bonus, doing research keeps your mind active so you'll be too busy to think "poor-me" thoughts.


Take courses at your local college.
Local colleges often offer free or low-cost workshops and seminars that can expand your interests and insight. You also may make new networking contacts or meet an employee from your target company.
Remember your successes.
Review your accomplishments, particularly if you have a long work history. Put any awards, commendations and letters of recommendation--even funny notes from co-workers--where you can see them. Anything that makes you feel good about your past professional life will add to your confidence about the future.
If you lack work experience, stay focused by imagining yourself in your target job.
Read about the habits of successful individuals and how they overcame life's hard knocks. Learning about others' success is motivating and often will boost your outlook. Even spending time with people who feel good about themselves and their lives can perk you up. Seeing a professional coach, a job-placement counselor or therapist for a short term can help you maintain a positive outlook, especially if friends and family aren't as sympathetic or supportive as you'd like them to be during your job search.
Keep a resume ready.
Remember that searching for a job is in itself a job, and eventually you'll find the position you really want. But also remember the job won't come to you. You must find the right opportunities and contact persons. You should have a professional, well-written resume ready at all times--you never know when you'll meet someone who happens to know of a job opening for you.

Make sure the content, format and language of your resume is up-to-date.

Have friends, co-workers or even a former boss proofread it.
Also ask a peer in your field to read it, but don't take any feedback as criticism. Consider it professional advice instead. You also may want to have a professional resume writer evaluate your document.
Above all, retain a sense of humor.
Everyone has a funny work-related story--coffee that spilled on meeting documents, a boss who wore mismatched socks or the time you mistakenly addressed a visiting V.I.P. as "hey, you." Don't limit the fun in your life just because you don't have the job of your dreams. You must choose to be positive to keep yourself from falling into a slump. Keep dreaming while working toward your target job, and you'll soon be able to pass these words of wisdom along to someone else.


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