No one said looking for a job was easy, but if you keep certain advice in mind, it can be much easier to successfully land an opportunity. Rachel Elahee, psychologist and author of “Choose You! Reignite Your Passion For Life,” offers the following suggestions adapted from the book to help you make the best choices during your job search.
1. Your life is not a democracy. “When it comes to the opinions of others, majority does not rule,” Elahee says. “Let others’ opinions remain their opinions only and not the linchpin that your life becomes contingent upon.”
While you may ask your colleagues, friends and family for advice and assistance, make sure they do not insert their agendas into your life without your approval. While you may be vulnerable at this time, keep your eyes on your target and goals, and you’ll be less likely to veer from your chosen professional path. “Consider opinions and advice, but do not let your life be dictated by them,” Elahee says.
2. Ask yourself: “Are you living accidentally or intentionally?” “Accidental living is reactive,” Elahee says. “Intentional living is living with a plan, and that plan includes a contingency plan.”
She reminds job seekers that planning things intentionally helps increase the likelihood that you’ll achieve your goal in a timely way. The other option is to wait until you’re accidentally in the right place, at the right time, which could take forever. “If you’re going to be serious about job hunting, you have to plan and be strategic,” she says. “Don’t sit waiting for the phone to ring. Be laser-focused about this project as if it is your most important assignment you have ever had.”
3. Do not take “no” personally. One thing most job seekers can expect is rejection. Even if you do everything else right, you’re likely to be turned away and told “no” during your search. “Most likely, it is not about you. A ‘no’ only means, ‘no’ to your request or ‘not right now’ in many cases. It does not mean the person does not like you,” Elahee says. “’No’ does not mean you are not intelligent. It does not mean your idea is ridiculous. It does not you will never get a job, or there is something wrong with you, or any other catastrophic result.”
Elahee suggests you (politely) ask the reason for the “no,” and ask if it’s OK for you to check in with the contact or employer again in a certain period of time. “Regardless of which choice you make, lighten up,” she says, “The ‘no’ is not always about you.”
4. Get in position, and be patient. You need to position yourself for the opportunity you want. “When a young child excitedly anticipates something they want, they run to get into position. When my toddler wants milk, dinner, snacks or a toy, I tell him to go get in his high chair, for example,” she says. “When you are seeking a job, even before you get one, you have to get in position to receive it.”
You have to prepare while anticipating its arrival. For example, will you need to train in new skills to be well qualified for your target job? Do you need to expand your network so you’ll have a better chance of meeting the person who can introduce you to an employer at your target company? Don’t just sit there – get in position to accomplish your goals. Take the steps to make sure you are successful, whether that means signing up for classes, joining and becoming active in new social networking groups or attending more in-person networking events.
5. Be able to answer the question, “who are you?” Our jobs are so much a part of our identities that it’s not uncommon for people who are between positions to feel disconnected from who they are. Elahee suggests you think differently. “Your job is what you do. Your job is not who you are. When your sense of self is tied to your occupation, it is easy to lose sight of who you are when you are unemployed,” she says. “To combat this phenomenon, write a list of your life roles, excluding your former jobs or positions. In this list, you may identify yourself as a friend, husband, wife, sister, brother, lover of music, chess player, etc. Remember: You are not your job title.”
Get my free white paper: 5 Mistakes Preventing You From Landing a Job This Week
When you’re able to separate who you are from what you do, you’ll have a better chance of successfully identifying the best professional course for you, and you’ll be better prepared to engage fully in all of the activities you need to accomplish in order to land a new opportunity.
Originally appeared on U.S. News & World Reports.