How to stay positive and motivated during your job search

Just in time for holiday season, last week a new government report announced that the unemployment rate has fallen to its lowest level since 2009—8.6%! While that’s fantastic news for lots of Americans, the report remains underwhelming for thousands of job seekers still un- or under-employed.

It’s easy to get frustrated by the ongoing search for a job, especially during this time of year when people get together to exchange updates about their lives, and when consumerism and Best Buy waitlists are at an annual high.

To help battle your job-hunt blues we’ve compiled a list of the best ways to stay positive and motivated this holiday season:

1. Attend Functions – It’s holiday season. You know what that means—catching up with distant relatives and reciting the same sad “story of my life” update about work and romance. While it’s true that holiday functions may throw you into small-talk purgatory, go anyway. Talk anyway. Let folks see you in a good, confident place. Holiday parties are great for networking. Who knows? Maybe an old colleague knows of a job opportunity you’d be great for.

2. Speak Life – Since we’re talking about networking, don’t be a Debbie-downer at holiday mixers. We’ve all gotten stuck in conversations with clueless ramblers caught up in personal woes. Don’t be that guy. Even though you may not currently be in employment bliss, keep the conversation light and positive. It will leave a much better impression.

3. Dress to Kill – Maybe you used to have to get up at 6 to don a wool suit and white collar for work each morning. Maybe the relief of sleeping ‘til 10 and lounging all day in boxers has long worn off. Not having to get dressed each morning can take a psychological toll and decrease your motivation to get up and at ‘em. So don’t get too comfortable in those Santa-print sweatpants. Even if you don’t feel like it, always dress like a champion.

4. Stay Sharp – Browse through WSJ, Financial Times, Businessweek. Know how underestimating Black Friday Weekend sales affected so-and-so’s 2012 projections. Whatever you do, stay informed of news related to your job field. Not only will you seem more knowledgeable when networking, you’ll find it much easier to slip back into the groove of things once you do find work.

5. Reflect Lots of people use the holidays as a time to reflect on the year that’s almost past. Use the time to think about how you did on past interviews. What can you do differently to improve future ones? Could your resume use a revamp? In reading up on your field, did you discover any skills companies currently find attractive?

6. Break a Sweat – Ever notice in movies whenever a character is trying to get over something tragic they head to a gym? There’s something to it. Exercise helps release endorphins which relieve stress and rejuvenate the body. Lack of physical activity can negatively affect our self esteem and even the energy we give off when interacting with others. So if you’ve been playing couch potato, move! You don’t want to reflect sluggish energy during your interviews.

7. Eat Right – Don’t drown your unemployment woes in eggnog and figgy pudding. Studies show that your appearance may affect your career more than you think.

8. Never Give Up – Contrary to popular belief, employers don’t halt their hiring throughout December, so you shouldn’t halt your hunt either. You can’t give up. As weary and disenchanted as you may have become in your search, a job is not going to trip and fall into your lap while you lay by the wayside. With continual effort comes results, so hang in there!

by Abena, Wall Street Services Reporter