Mental preparation is probably your most important task as you proceed in your job search. This not only needs to be worked on right from the start, but also on an ongoing basis.
A healthy mindset is your best asset for the daunting task ahead. Here are some points to help you prepare mentally:
1. Maintain positive self-esteem. You must believe in yourself and your abilities. You have special skills and talents that are valuable. Talk and think positively about yourself. Projecting this is the only way prospective employers will believe in you. If you are not convinced yourself, you will not be able to convince anyone else. Your confidence and self-belief are two important personality traits that any employer looks for, and they cannot be faked, only instilled. Master them, and you'll be way ahead of the game.
2. Develop and maintain a positive attitude. Being negative about your current job situation makes a dramatic impact on how you project yourself to the outside world - and you are seldom unaware how terribly negative you really are. This is expressed in your body language, your tone of voice, your physical attributes, and your verbal communications - i.e. everything that you project. Prospective employers are especially attuned to pick up on this. Project a genuine, positive, well-balanced attitude to everyone you come across during your job search. Treat everyone with warmth and courtesy. Surround yourself with positive people and keep away from those who bring you down.
3. Don't act desperate. You may be currently unemployed or you may simply hate your current job immensely and want out or you may be seeking your first job. All these conditions have a propensity to project you as being desperate! Watch out for this. You have to ensure that you don't let anyone see you sweat. Maintain a confident 'calmness' and make sure you don't swing too far and appear indifferent.
4. Don't be a victim. It's easy to blame yourself and others for your situation - DON'T! Don't speak badly of your current employer or job. Let go of regrets about the past. Remove any bitterness you may have because this will leak into all of your communication - and you won't even aware of it. Eliminate this bad practice and you'll be rewarded with positive outcomes - not only in your job search - but also in every other aspect of living.
5. Don't take rejection personally. It's inevitable that you will not get job offers for positions that you've applied for or where you've had your 5th interview and it seemed a done deal. The position may have already been filled - or a person with a better matched skill set was selected. Consider a 'no' as one step closer to your ideal job. Transform a rejection to motivate you. If you wear your rejection on your sleeves - it will manifest itself in your character and behavior and will certainly hinder your job search progress.
6. Make Time For Yourself & De-Stress. Recharge your batteries and clear your mind. Read a good book or getaway for the weekend. Get some exercise to give you more energy - and improve your health and mind. Take classes or seminars on a topic you are interested in. Recharging your batteries will result in benefits not only during your job search - but also for the longer term on a personal level.
7. Stay Motivated & Optimistic. Job searching is challenging and it's easy to slack off and get de-motivated when things are tough. Staying motivated requires determination and conscious effort. Start each day on a upbeat tempo by doing something that puts in a good mood. Listen to your favorite music, enjoy a good cup of coffee, or go for a morning walk or jog. Then have a schedule that you stick to. A schedule will help you from being bored or feeling lost. However, remember not to make busy work. A schedule will also help you focus and be more productive.
8. Be persistent, take action. Don't wait for things to happen - make them happen! Take charge and accept responsibility for your job search. You are the key driver in your job search. Do not rely or family, friends, colleagues to find you a job. This is a passive waiting game. Your job search will end sooner if you are proactive.
9. Enjoy & learn from the process. This is a time for exploring new opportunities and further self-development. Reassess yourself, your goals, your core desires... Enrich yourself with new contacts and new friendships. Investigate different areas of interests which may lead you along paths you never imagined.
Sarah Breinig is an Independent Recruiter and Job Search Coach. She is the 'webmistress' of http://www.best-online-job-search-tools.com where you'll find information, resources, tools & strategies to EMPOWER your job search.