Tips for maintaining a positive attitude during your job hunt

This blog post has been updated and was originally authored by Ashley Purdy, Metis Career Advisor in Chicago. 


Ashley has five years’ experience as an employment professional. She started her career as a technical recruiter and most recently worked at DeVry University as a Career Adviser, supporting the technical programs. Working in both a recruiting and advising capacity, Ashley has a strong understanding of the recruitment process and what employers seek in a quality candidate, especially in the technical industry. Ashley’s excited to be a founding member of the Chicago Metis team and enjoys helping students find their dream job in data science. 



Finding a job can be hard work, especially when you’re transitioning into a new field. If you do your research before jumping into a big task such as a career transition, you’ve probably found plenty of blogs discussing how to put together a resume or how prepare for an interview.

This isn’t one of those blogs. Instead, I want to share some ways to keep you sane and motivated throughout your job search. A big part of a successful interview is showing up energised and with a positive attitude. However, when those job search blues hit (we’ve all been there) it can be difficult to put on a happy face. To help you throughout your job search, here are some actions you can take to overcome your frustrations and maintain a positive attitude.


Celebrate the little wins

We know searching for a job can come with challenges, so it isn’t fair for our only measure of success to be the result of receiving a job offer. This is the ultimate ‘win’, but there are many smaller steps along the way that should be celebrated.

Let’s use submitting an application and progressing to a phone interview as an example. Hard work goes into this process, and a smart and active job seeker will research before applying for a role. This way you can see if you have any contacts that can help you with a referral. If you do have to submit an application, it’s highly important to write a quality cover letter and potentially follow up with recruiters.

You’re also likely to be competing against hundreds of other applicants, so when you get offered a phone interview it means the company saw potential in you. This is fantastic! It means you have the opportunity to discuss your strengths and the value you can add to the organisation. Each step you progress through the interview is an opportunity to showcase your strengths and what you do. The next time you move to the next stage from a phone interview, make sure you celebrate.


The losses help you grow

“We appreciate your application. However, we don’t feel you’re the right fit for this position. Best of luck with your job search moving forward.”

Rejection in your job search can be extremely helpful, although you may not see it at the time. When you don’t advance in an interview or end up getting the job offer, this is a great opportunity to self-reflect and determine what you can do differently in future. Use this knowledge to help you upskill and prepare for your next interview. Responding to rejection emails and asking for critical feedback in a polite and grateful tone is a great habit to get into. Although you may not always receive a response, it can help you become a better candidate moving forward.


Work on a passion project

Writing cover letters and completing applications is ‘work’ but digging into a project you find interesting can be fun. This advice is two-fold because adding fun to your job search can help keep you motivated and engaged. You’ll want to continue to practise your skills to keep them sharp, which will also help you prepare for interviews. My advice is to choose a project you’re excited about and try to incorporate an in-demand skill set you’ve seen on the jobs you’re applying for. If you apply this advice, you’ll have something interesting and valuable to discuss in an interview; this usually aligns with what the hiring manager’s looking for.


Take a break

You’ll hear many career advisers say “an active job search is a full-time job” … and there’s a lot of truth to this. While you’re applying for jobs, you’re also most likely networking, studying and going to interviews, which can quickly add up to a 40-hour week. Just like when you’re working a full-time job, you deserve to give yourself a day or two to recharge your batteries. Shut your laptop and make time to do something you enjoy. Taking a break will help your brain switch off from your job search and allow you to come back feeling refreshed and ready hit the ground running.


Searching for a job can feel like a roller coaster ride at times. There’ll be ups and downs. Some weeks you’ll be extremely busy and other weeks may be quieter. Throughout this time, it’s important to stay positive and persistent because it’s much more inspiring to work with someone who’s motivated, exhibits grit, and has a good attitude. Remember, it’s normal to feel frustration at times … but if you incorporate some of the above strategies, you’ll be able to push through to the ultimate win – the job offer!