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Staying Positive in a Holiday Season Job Search

Q. I know it’s the Holidays and people are supposed to be upbeat, but I am having a rough time. This will be the second Holiday season since I have had a full-time job. The rejection and judgment is killing me; everyone in my family to friends to people who could hire me don’t seem to think I measure up. I need a job, not a shrink.

A. You do need a job, and you need some support. Both of these are important and they often go hand in hand. Job searches can be difficult whether you are a senior level executive, mid-level manager, or an hourly worker, and prolonged job searches even more so. The Holidays, which can intensify emotions, coupled with the job search, adds even more challenge to life.

Reality says there are many people out of work, and that it takes months, many months, to find a job. However, many people believe it shouldn’t be them, or anyone in their family. Family members may be judgmental even if they don’t want to be, you may be overly sensitive or both.


When job searches derail, it is often a result of not enough activity. Develop an action plan to get to the success levels shown by statistics. Review your search to date. Most likely you will have to meet with about 150 people face-to-face to get an offer. Are you there yet?
Try to keep a positive attitude and discuss your job search activity. You have control over that, and the energy you invest will pay off. Family and friends will see the commitment and will hopefully be more supportive.
Your action plan says:
1. Get support. Join a job search group in your community or religious organization. You may not want to, but you need to.
2. Get more support. Visit or call your college or university career center and the state One Stop Career Center.
3. Revisit your resume, LinkedIn profile and job targets – get expert review.
4. Develop a weekly schedule and stick to it. Take a 35 hour work week and dedicate 50 percent of your time to face-to-face networking meetings; 20 percent to email follow up notes to your network – building, thanking and reminding them of your activity, 20 percent to online job boards and 10 percent to a mailing to search firms, or placement agencies.
5. Read everything you can on effective networking and become an expert. Over 70 percent of people get a job this way. Increase your chances.
6. Rejection is painful – don’t count unanswered cold emails, or no’s to meeting for coffee. Your job search is not everyone’s top priority. Don’t build it up – try to minimize this.
7. Exercise, sleep well, eat well, don’t drink and surround yourself with positive people.
-Elaine Varelas, Managing Partner, Keystone Partners

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