At some point in our sales careers most of us have found ourselves out of work or out of love with our sales job. The psychology of this situation is 180 from the good vibes we experience when we’re crushing it at work and new opportunities are finding us. I’ve often found myself shifting from recruiter to positivity coach when interviewing a sales professional that was high on talent but low on confidence after a job search had dragged out. While I can’t give everyone a job, I can share something just as powerful, a job search process that works. Armed with a simple and effective process instead of raw hope, you’ll have the confidence to stay positive during a job search. 

Manage Your Psychology.

As the job search stretches out and cash or spirits start riding low, staying positive during a job search becomes harder and harder to do. Of course, that’s exactly what you need when you’re trying to land a job. To guard against this, it’s imperative that you have a plan to ensure that you’ll have something that you look forward to every day. Just as important, these activities should have nothing to do with your job search. Psychologists call this “self care” and it smooths out the emotional highs and lows you’ll encounter. Yoga, lunch with a friend, pickup basketball, it doesn’t matter what it is as long as it helps you stay centered and positive. Be especially mindful of your mental state on days that you have interviews. Just as you must do your homework to prepare for each interview; you must set yourself up mentally as well. I personally use this same practice leading up to big presentations. I’ll go for a long run prior to the meeting or even book a massage if the stakes are high. Final tip, remember that you only need to land one solid job offer.

“The flip side of fear is commitment.”

Laird Hamilton

Leverage the Power of Habits.

Most job seekers start their search off with a flurry of activity that dwindles down when results start to taper off. You’re not going to do that. You’re going to create a plan that is sustainable, targeted and effective. On the days that you’re not getting results, you’ll have a process that gives you some control over the situation. Followed over time, those activities WILL give you results.

An effective job search plan looks something like this:

  • Create a list of dream companies to proactively target.
  • Create a list of contacts to network with (former peers, managers, recruiters, etc).
  • Set aside time each week to monitor and apply to interesting positions found on the job boards.
  • Use a spreadsheet or some other tool to track progress with each lead and contact.
  • Research each opportunity to understand what you can bring to that opportunity.
  • Create messaging and look for contacts within each opportunity to get yourself in the door.
  • Etc.

If this plan looks a lot like a sales rep’s territory plan you are getting the idea. Each group of activities will be blocked into your calendar and each will have activity goals associated with it. With a regimented approach you’ll create the momentum that leads to interviews. This approach also allows you to set time limits for your job search and gives you an opportunity to celebrate the small steps that lead up to an offer.

“Some people want it to happen, some wish it would happen, others make it happen.”

Michael Jordan

Wrapping up How to Stay Positive During a Job Search.

At this point, you have a plan to stay positive and you have a plan to get in the door with new opportunities. In addition, you’ve practiced interviewing, lined up your references and understand what you can bring to an employer. Small win by small win you’ll get more interviews which breeds confidence and keeps you on track. That confidence will also make your presence and performance during the interview immeasurably better. All of this can be the difference between accepting the first offer you finally get and making a choice to join a company that you’d be proud to work for.

Good luck and stay positive!