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When I graduated college, it took me over six months to land my very first “real world” position. The job market still hadn’t quite rebounded from the recession, and people with years of experience were scrambling to find jobs that were well below their skill level and previous pay grade, simply because they were so desperate for work. Needless to say, as a recent college graduate, this made things even more challenging for me.

Those six months I spent job searching were undoubtedly frustrating. I felt like I had spent years in college working toward this very moment—only to wind up deflated and unemployed. I’ll be the first to admit that it was tough to keep my chin up and stay positive when my search seemed to be dragging on and on with no end in sight.

Keeping a positive attitude throughout your job search can truly make all the difference.

However, as difficult as it might seem, keeping a positive attitude throughout your job search can truly make all the difference in the entire process. Seems impossible? Here are five tips to help you find the bright side during, what can be, a challenging job search.

  1. Channel Energy

When you’re stuck searching for a job for a seemingly never-ending amount of time, it’s all too easy to feel completely powerless and helpless. So instead of focusing on all of the things you can’t control about your job search, make your best effort to grab the reins on all the things you actually do have a say in.

What does this mean? It’s simple! Channel your energy into being the best applicant you can possibly be: Polish your resume; take a course to refine a skill that could benefit you; start a personal website to showcase your previous work; do anything you can to better position yourself against your competition. You may not be able to control the entire process, but you should at least do your best with what is well within your grasp.

  1. Switch Up Strategy

The world of job hunting has become pretty impersonal. With so many applications submitted online, you’ll often feel like you’re continuously sending your information into the Internet black hole—without ever seeing any payoff from your efforts.

If you’re beginning to feel frustrated and exhausted with your search, try switching up how you’re doing things. Walk away from the computer screen and set up an informational interview or head out of your comfort zone to a networking event. Continuing to do the same thing over and over again (particularly if it doesn’t seem to be working) is a surefire way to grow even more frustrated and discouraged.

  1. Exit the House

I get it—a long job search can definitely be disheartening. And that can be more than enough to make you feel gloomy and unmotivated. Suddenly, evenings spent being a couch potato sound like all you’re physically capable of after a long day of fruitless job searching.

Establish a routine that gets you out of the house each and every day.

However, camping out inside your home will only send your spirits into even more of a downward spiral. So go for a walk, meet up with a friend, or even join a gym! Establish a routine that gets you out of the house each and every day. Believe me, turning into a job search hermit will only make your situation seem nagative.

  1. Volunteer

Looking for a solution that will get you out of the house and also give your professional reputation a boost? Find opportunities to volunteer!

Volunteering is awesome for a few different reasons, aside from just forcing you to leave your house every once in awhile. First, it’s an opportunity to learn and refine some new skills. When you volunteer, you can try your hand at things you wouldn’t necessarily be willing to attempt in a traditional work environment. Secondly, it’s an effective way to meet new people in a casual and laidback environment and these connections may potentially benefit you in your job search. You never know who you’ll meet!

  1. Explore Options

Instead of looking at your long (never-ending it may seem!) job hunt as a hindrance, think of it as your opportunity to discover different career paths and identify what you really want to do. After all, taking the time to zone in on the things you really want will be a refreshing change of pace from applying for just anything for the sake of trying to land a job.

Instead of looking at your long job hunt as a hindrance, think of it as your opportunity to discover different career paths.

See if you can find some different job shadowing opportunities or unpaid work to help you gain some experience, test drive different careers, and beef up your resume. Or, schedule a few sit-downs with industry professionals in order to dip your toes into what’s involved with a certain position or career path. Remember, taking the time to explore your options is never a bad thing.

There’s no denying that a long job hunt can be discouraging and disheartening. However, focusing on the negatives will only add fuel to your pessimistic fire! As cliché as it might sound, staying positive is absolutely crucial.

I know, it’s easier said than done. But, put these tips into play and you’re sure to feel a little bit better about your job search. Trust me, no matter what it may feel like, your job hunt won’t last forever.

Credit: theeverygirl.