An extended job search can be stressful, especially in a weak job market. It is difficult not to feel anxious when the news is filled with discouraging economic indicators. The key to success in a job search is to keep focused and remain upbeat, but how do you do this in a recession?

Keep a positive attitude
In a job market where employers have a wide selection of candidates, job seekers who appear desperate or negative will be the first to be eliminated from consideration. Appear confident and be specific about how you can contribute to an organization.

  • Consider “temping” or short-term consulting as a way to pay your bills and buy time. This will give you renewed confidence and an emotional boost.
  • Do something for yourself every day, whether it’s taking a long walk or spending an afternoon fishing. Such breaks refresh your energy and put problems into perspective.

Take stock of your support system
Surround yourself with people who believe in you. Talk candidly and let them know when you are frustrated, but don’t vent too much.

  • Find an objective listener who can help with your job-search issues. This allows your supporters to do what they do best—keep your confidence and spirits up.

Don’t base decisions on headlines
Good jobs exist for qualified candidates. The jobs are just more difficult to locate, because more employers are relying on internal referrals.

  • Networking is critical. Make sure everyone knows the kind of position you seek and has a copy of your résumé. Be specific about the skills and strengths you want to utilize.
  • Don’t let your emotions be buffeted by the latest headlines. Don’t let bad news erode your confidence.

Have a long-term focus with short-term goals
Know where you want to be in five years. Then develop a series of smaller, realistic goals to help you achieve that long-term goal. Instead of dwelling on getting “The Job,” concentrate on the process of “finding a job.”

  • Create daily job-hunting objectives. Treat the job search like a job in itself.
  • The more you do each day to find a job—networking, researching the local job market, sending out résumés—will result in more job opportunities.

Remember that everything counts
If you are struggling with your job search, review your marketing tools and package—networking, self-promotion skills, résumé, cover letter, interviewing techniques, salary requirements and negotiating skills.

  • Talk with a professional about sharpening your marketing strategies.
  • Be realistic about your value in the current marketplace.

By following these guidelines, you should be able to reach your goal without falling prey to the job-search blues.

One month of free career counseling is available to all Alumni Association members. Alumni opting to extend these services will pay $75 per additional month. For more information, contact Liz Sprouse at or 434-243-9017.