How to Stay Positive During a Job Search

You feel bored or stuck at your current job.

It’s the new year and your top priority on the new year’s resolution list is to GET A NEW JOB.

You’re motivated, driven, and willing to do whatever it takes to create the change in your life.

Yet, sometimes it feels like you’re just throwing your resume into a virtual black hole where responses are few and far between. . .

Does this sound familiar?

Even the most confident among us might start questioning their capabilities when rejections are coming in left, right and center.

It’s natural to question what you’re doing, what you could be doing better, or if you should even be doing it at all.

Here are some tips which could help you to stay sane during a job search.

1. Understand the Recruiting Process

An eye-opening post on ERE Recruiting Intelligence says:

Most people looking for a job approach it with little factual knowledge…a huge mistake.

Stats mentioned include an average of 250 resumes being received for every corporate job opening, and that recruiters spend an average of 6 seconds on a resume review.

It’s not uncommon for an online job posting to receive upwards of 1,000 applicants.

Still, online job boards are a natural avenue a job seeker will explore if they don’t have a network that can refer them to the roles they are aiming for.

To increase your chances of getting your resume read, understand that the recruiting process often involves a computerized ATS (Applicant Tracking System) to scan resumes for relevant keywords.

Pay attention to the format of your resume.

A custom-designed, unique PDF resume might be pretty to look at.

However, if an ATS cannot scan it correctly, your resume is ultimately going to end up in the dreaded “black hole” as the system will not be able to recognize the key sections in the resume.

Stick to a logical and ATS compatible format.

ZipJob has great tips on optimizing and formatting your resume.

The site recommends using a standard format free of images, designs, tables, and charts.

Spell out abbreviations and focus on relevant information.

Use keywords that are found in the job posting so that the system recognizes your resume as a good match.

2. Think of Your Career Path in the Long-Term

Take a strategic approach to your career goals.

When you have a long-term goal, it’s easier to break things down into smaller steps when you know your eventual destination.

Having a plan will help you apply for jobs that you are passionate about and have a higher chance of being a good fit.

While not having a plan may seem okay at first, it doesn’t take long for a year, or three, or five, to go by.

Ideally, you don’t want to look back and regret having wasted time on jobs you didn’t enjoy or that didn’t help you develop in-demand, transferable skills.

Which type of experience and job history looks better to a recruiter or perspective employer who is seeking a Marketing Coordinator?

Example #1: Salesperson –> Call Center Associate –> Substitute Teacher (background is not focused or relevant to marketing)

Example #2: Marketing Intern –> Junior Copywriter –> Social Media Strategist (background is relevant to marketing)

It’s not impossible to make a career change.

But you do have to prepare for it through ways like building a portfolio or gaining relevant certifications, especially if you don’t have a ton of related experience.

3. Have A Support System

Not all of us are lucky enough to have a solid and warm support system via family or friends.

Still, is there one person you can trust and who’ll not put your down when you need some encouragement?

Are there personalities or authors you look up to? Or people with similar interests that you could forge a common bond with?

Humans are generally not solitary creatures. It is not surprising that isolation can exacerbate feelings of disconnect or hopelessness.

While you don’t need to be a Debbie Downer 24/7 with your friends or family (or anyone who’ll listen to your job searching woes!), it helps to know that you aren’t the only one facing uphill battles on important matters such as career.

Pets can make lovely companions and help with social support too.


Photo by antonè on flickr

According to Harvard,

Pets can provide their owners with more than companionship. . . they can help create human-to-human friendships and social support, both of which are good for long-term health.

When you need some help or comfort, don’t forget to reach out to others!

4. Read A Book

A library can be a treasure trove of non-fiction career books 📚

A couple of titles that I recently borrowed were The New Job Security and 101 Interview Questions.

There’s always something new to learn from a well-written book or article.

Reading will keep your skills sharp and your knowledge current.

The Muse has a list of 6 Classic Career Books that successful people always read.

While plenty of newer trends come and go, an old-fashioned and traditional approach is sometimes what works best.

Skills like persuasive writing, influence, and negotiation, will never go out of style.

You don’t have to limit your reading to career books only either.

Other people’s stories have the ability to uplift and inspire. So keep your eyes open for your next favorite book.


If you’re beginning to despair due to a long job search…stop.

Take a breath. Rest and quality sleep are important for your mind and body to feel refreshed and energized.

Focus on doing a small step daily to improve and get to where you want to be.

Take an overview of your current job search journey and see if there’s a section or two where you could spend more time on for improvement.

Sometimes, all it takes is a small pivot to create a big and much-needed change.

Remember to stay informed as well so that you are more aware of the recruiting process.

Particularly if you want to be more certain that your resume is getting reviewed by a human, in order to get an email or call back for an interview or next steps.

Jess Chua is a content specialist who focuses on making a human connection via storytelling.

If you’re seeking a blog mentorship, you’re at the right place!