Job-hunting during a recession can be disheartening.  But it’s important to do what you can to stay positive – to protect your own mental health as well as to project confidence to a prospective employer.  Here are some tips:

  1. Don’t spend all your time job-hunting.  This might sound counter-intuitive but spending too much time on one thing can really get you down.  Set time aside for the job search, but give yourself time to do other things you enjoy  – going for a walk outside, talking to friends, watching a film, doing some exercise, learning something new, making something.  Ring-fencing time for non-job-seeking activities will stimulate and sustain you. 
  2. Tailor your cv and covering email to every job you apply for.  Your aim is to make it easy for the employer to see how you match their requirements.  Highlight the two or three really relevant parts of your skills and experience in both your cv and your covering email.  And a cv should be no more than two pages long – if it’s too long, it won’t be read.  Quality is better than quantity. 
  3. If you are doing a speculative application, research the employer and tailor your cv to show that you understand their business and what they need.  Think about what they might need and focus on what you can do for them, (not what they can do for you) – how you can help their customers, improve their delivery times, increase their sales, enhance their product, improve their processes…..?
  4. Use your network.  Let people know that you are looking for a job, not in a “gis a job” way, but ask for their advice.  They may come up with opportunities and approaches you haven’t considered. 
  5. Prepare for an interview.  Do some positive self-talk – remind yourself of what you can do rather than what you can’t.  Think up possible questions and practice how you would answer.  Rehearse some examples of where you have demonstrated the skill they need.  Plan what you will wear.   Practise standing tall, making eye contact, and smiling.  All this also applies if the interview is online.
  6. If you don’t get a job offer, don’t let this undermine your confidence – attributing it to others having better experience than you, is more helpful, and more realistic, than telling yourself that you are always going to fail.
  7. Do a review every so often of how things are going – what’s going well or not so well, what could you do differently.  You may need to adjust your plan, write a new cv, re-engage with your network, expand the type of jobs you apply for. 
  8. And finally, back to the beginning – don’t spend all your time on job-hunting!  Make time for the things that will help you look after your physical, mental and emotional well-being.

For more tips on communicating positively and maintaining your confidence and resilience: