Dear Matt: I’ve hit some roadblocks in my job search. Can you provide some insight on the power of positive thinking in the job search and interview process to help stay motivated?
Matt says: For many people, the job search is a series of ups and downs. You send out résumés, but hear nothing back. You get the interview only to get a rejection letter days later. You find that dream job, but learn that someone else has already accepted the position. Rejection can lead to dejection, but there are ways to stay positive and persistent in the job search, says Paul Carver, President of Twin Cities-based Pluvian Consulting LLC, where he coaches business professionals and individuals to understand their talents, grow their strengths and reach their goals and dreams. There is power in positivity and an optimistic approach to all things job search-related can help achieve the desired change and success.
“Positivity is attractive to employers, managers, colleagues, friends and family members,” says Carver, a Gallup-Certified Strengths Coach (take your own StrengthsFinder assessment at gallupstrengthscenter.com/$9.99). “Knowing what you do and don’t do well gives you confidence,” says Carver. “Knowing and working in your strengths is the foundation for positivity.”
Those who are floundering in a negative environment are more likely to take short cuts in the job search — maybe get lackadaisical when applying for a job because they are tired of filling out online applications, or perhaps they send a one-size-fits-all résumé to every job, instead of taking the time to update/customize for that specific job. Or, when they interview, they take their past failures out on the interviewer, rolling their eyes at the same interview questions asked the week before at a different company. The nonverbal cues and body language will be obvious and that is enough to remove you from consideration for the job.
“Your explanatory style of failures and successes likely keeps you mired in negativity,” says Carver. “Naturally optimistic people bounce back from failure easily because they explain the failure as beyond their control and temporary. Naturally pessimistic people say it’s their fault and it will last forever.”
Surround yourself with optimistic people and limit your interactions with pessimists, says Carver.
“After a disappointing interview, ask your optimistic friends to help you put the experience into perspective so you avoid the doom spiral which will stall your next effort.”
Choose and use positivity, says Carver. Actions as effortless as smiling at someone you pass in the hall or holding a door for a stranger make you and the other person feel more positive. Carver’s advice? Every day, aim for five positive interactions for every negative one.
Contact Matt at firstname.lastname@example.org.