With all the talk of double-dip recessions, slow economic growth and spiraling national deficits, it is little wonder that the job seeker of today is almost entirely devoid of optimism and confidence. In the U.S. alone, August figures showed that the unemployment rate stood at 9.1% of the total labor force, which is an increase on the previous quarters results. However, amid growing fears that another period of recession may drive unemployment levels back towards their startling highs of 2009 and 2010, it is more important than ever that job seekers remain positive and maintain belief in themselves and their goals.
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Focusing on Yourself Rather Than the Economic Climate
As a starting point in a job search, a person looking for work should focus his or her attention entirely on performance, as factors such as the economic climate and high unemployment cannot be controlled. Consider your own strengths and attributes, and be prepared to sell these as your unique characteristics. While it is true that there may be less jobs being created and more competition for those that are, the process of finding and applying for jobs cannot be viewed as an act of futility, and must instead be embraced as a challenge that needs to be met.
In fact, by assessing your own abilities and character traits, you are actively improving your chances as a job seeker immediately. This is because aside from academic qualifications and experience, employers look for a range of skills that can help you to thrive within the workplace, and these are often referred to as soft skills. Your ability to communicate, problem solve and interact with others can actually give you a crucial edge on your rival job seekers. So, be aware of your strengths and have belief in them, that way you can shine through an application and interview process. (Learn more in Sell Your Skills, Not Your Degree.)
Persistence in the Face of Adversity
There is no doubt that persistence is the key to any successful job hunt, and you must be prepared to follow the same process of applying and making contact with recruiters every single day. Any act that requires daily repetition requires confidence and self belief. To do anything repeatedly you must believe that it is going to prove beneficial over time. If you are lacking confidence or feel that there is no hope of being able to source work, then you are bound to become lax about making applications and knocking on doors throughout the recruitment sector.
Aside from the 9.1% of U.S. citizens who are officially unemployed, there are further individuals who have simply given up on their job hunt after a series of rejections. Of course, rejections and failures are an everyday feature of job seeking. For every acceptance letter the average applicant will receive approximately 10 rejection notes. If you accept this and are confident in what you have to offer as a candidate, then it is simply a case of taking failed applications in your stride and persisting with the next one. (Read about how the unemployment rate is calculated in The Unemployment Rate: Get Real.)
A Terrifying Experience or a Sales Pitch?
There is no doubt that self confidence alters the way that you look at things, and enables you to put a positive perspective on events that others may dread. In terms of a successful job hunt, there is no more feared convention than the interview. By considering it as a chance to sell yourself and your personal brand rather than a nerve jangling interrogation you will instantly be better placed than your fellow candidates. Use the interview as a vehicle for your personal attributes and experience, and demonstrate to any potential employer why you are the right candidate for the job.
Of course, by viewing the interview as an opportunity for progression rather than an ordeal, it will improve your conduct and behavior during it. Remember, how you behave in front of an employer will indicate how you will treat a brand's customers. Confident and positive behaviors are encouraged. A strong, bold handshake and focused eye contact suggests that you are an honest and positive individual, while your ability to communicate both assuredly and in a courteous manner shows you to have a professional awareness and highly developed social skills. (Also see Top Job-Search Mistakes For Finance Grads.)
The Bottom Line
Neither focus, persistence nor positivity are possibilities without confidence or self belief, so it is easy to see why at the foundation of every successful job hunt is a self assured and committed ethos. Believe in your own attributes and achievements, be prepared to fail and develop a positive outlook on everything that you encounter, and you will be able to find work where others before you have floundered.