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Enhancing Optimism and Resilience in Your Job Search & Beyond

Submitted by Amanda Dumsch July 29, 2014

As we’ve discussed in previous blog posts, it can be really difficult to stay positive during a job search. However, positivity is often a key characteristic of the most productive job searchers and luckily, there are things you can do to help enhance your own optimism. In the Job Search Resiliency video (part of the new OITE YouTube Channel) you will find helpful tips and strategies for finding ways to stay positive and optimistic if/when your job search doesn’t go as planned. One takeaway (of many) from the video is to engage in positive psychology exercises.  Some of these exercises include:

  1. Gratitude Visit and Letter Close your eyes for a moment and think about a person who helped you out in the past. Perhaps someone you never properly thanked? This is a great activity to help you feel more positive because when you feel grateful, you conjure up a pleasant memory or association. Then, expressing that gratitude can help strengthen your relationship and can create more positive connections.   So, give that person a call, write them an e-mail or even drop by their office or home to say thank you!
  2. Three Good Things in Life Oftentimes, it is easy to identify all the things that went wrong in a day, or even all the challenges you are facing within your job search. Take a moment each day to balance out that perspective. Pause and reflect on all the things (big and small) that went well. Then choose three of these good things and write them down. We invite you to take it a step further and provide an explanation (why it was good and/or how it came about) for each good thing. You may find that you are the cause of many of these positive events.
  3. Identifying Signature Strengths Martin Seligman (Founder of Positive Psychology) and his research group have a website:  This site includes information on learning and applying the principles of positive psychology to any domain, such as a job search. They also have a whole range of different surveys that you can take. We suggest taking the Signature Strengths Survey and noting your top five strengths. You can help combat negativity when you focus on not only identifying your strengths but also finding new ways to begin using those strengths more intentionally throughout your week. A logistical note about taking this survey: it is quite long as it has 240 questions and you can’t save it and come back to it, so be sure to take it when you have sufficient time. You do have to create a log in to access the surveys, but by participating you are actually paying it forward in a way by helping with their positive psychology research.

One final recommended exercise is to watch the full Job Search Resiliency video on YouTube. It’s a quick way to get even more information, including some key follow up resources.

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