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Attitude is Everything in Your Job Search
October 2010

Back in March, I shared that I was going to lose my job in May. During the last six months I have chronicled my job search, the highs and the lows. It's been a challenging time, but I also learned a lot about myself and how I rise to adversity.

One of the most important lessons I learned during my job search was the power of a positive attitude. It was my positive energy that carried me through the tough times and what set me apart from the job seekers I was competing against. It was my can-do attitude that hiring managers picked up on during my interviews that encouraged them to invite me back for second and third rounds.

I spent a lot of time during the last six months networking. I was attending industry events, meeting with people in my network, talking to the guy sitting next to me on the subway or my hair dresser to see if they knew of any people who can help me find my next job. I was able to really observe how other job seekers approach their networking and career search. It amazed me how many people let the stress of unemployment and job search and situation beat them down and it showed in every interaction they had.

Here are 5 tips on how a positive attitude can help you in your job search:

You're Never Fully Dressed Without A Smile – Everyone says a "smile can be contagious" or "laughter is the best medicine." Having a smile on your face when you are on the phone, out networking, and interviewing will help put a positive spin on any conversation. A smile can disarm people, and it gives off the impression that you are happy, confident and have a positive disposition, even when you might not really feel that way. People want to work with people that they like, so spread a smile on your face, in your voice, and show that sparkle in your eyes - it will make a big difference.

Be a Spin Doctor – You want to be able to put a positive spin on your job search situation. Talk to a career counselor, coach, friend, or significant other and vent your frustrations before you go out into the world to job hunt. Figure out the best way to explain your current situation and practice it over and over again. You might be the most qualified person for a job, but if you bad mouth your old boss or employer, you will find yourself passed over time and time again by hiring managers. Talk about your contributions to the company or how you have been volunteering for an animal shelter or the classes you are taking to update your skills.

Play the Field – Accept every interview, go to many networking events, speak to anyone and everyone about your situation. Having many irons in the fire will help build up your confidence and give you more options to pick from. During my job search I was consistently interviewing, but it was not until recently that I had five strong opportunities land in my lap, all in the same time frame. It was crazy running to interview after interview, but with each interview under my belt, my positive attitude and confidence grew. It was wonderful to be in a situation where I was in the driver's seat. Because I had so many options, I was more self-assured and was not nervous going into interviews.

Don't Fall in Love – While it's important to play the field during your job search, falling in love with a potential job can be dangerous. I can't tell you how many times I saw people fall in love with a possible job, slowed down their job search because they thought they found "the one" and were devastated when it fell through. That usually derailed their job search for a few weeks. Don't Fall in Love really ties back to the Play the Field section above. You should always be working on your job search, even if you are at the final stages of interviews with a company. Continue to take the initiative with your job search and don't let "falling in love" with a particular job slow down your job search. Consider yourself a free agent until you have a written offer, then feel free to let out your inner Romeo or Juliet.

Stay Engaged – Don't play the waiting game. Sitting around waiting for a call is an energy and motivation drain. Keep your position of strength and continue to network and work your job search. While I was temping, I became a little complacent because it was nice to have a paycheck again. I took my eye off the game for a few weeks, but one day realized I had nothing good in the pipeline. Knowing that I can't be dependent on the temporary assignment, I kicked up my networking efforts. That burst of energy landed me multiple interviews and eventually offers.

I am happy to say, that today was my first day at a new job. It's perfect for my background and experiences and I am excited about what lies ahead of me. I am sure if I asked my new boss why he liked me so much during the interview process, he would say it was my positive, can-do attitude. So, get out there, put on a smile on your face, play the field and see what wonderful things can happen.