I posted this article almost two years ago on this site but it’s timeless advice. If you haven’t read it, perhaps you should. I’ve also added two examples of behavior that contribute to a poor attitude.
No one will argue that being unemployed isn’t a traumatic experience, especially me. I was on the receiving end approximately 14 years ago and now I serve people in the same situation. Being unemployed isn’t what I’d wish on anyone.
Your negative attitude shows itself in how you appear and the way you communicate. Demonstrations of your mannerisms precedes any opportunity to appear before an employer. Failing to control your mannerisms can prevent you from getting to the interview.
Below are some signs of a negative attitude. These are things you should keep in mind when going out in public.
1. Arrogance impresses no one. You may have been outstanding at what you did, and you may be outstanding in the future, but keep in mind that diplomacy is your best card at this time. You will be relying on many people to help you in your job search, and most people don’t appreciate being looked down upon.
2. Apparel is one of the most obvious aspects of your attitude. This it’s second on the list. During the summer, when it’s hot, please refrain from wearing gym shorts and tee-shirts with Budweiser advertisements. At all times make sure you are well-groomed and presentable—you never know when a potential employer might be just around the corner.
3. Your countenance is more noticeable than you think. I’ve witnessed people who walk into the career center looking as if they’d like to strike anyone in their path. Their mouth looks like it was chiseled into a constant frown. There seems to be hatred in their eyes. This can be intimidating, if not off-putting.
4. And your posture. How you enter a room says a great deal about your attitude. Walking in with an erect posture says you’re confident. On the flip side, slouching as you enter a room indicates lack of confidence and in some cases hopelessness. You may be tired, worn out; but try to project the confidence people are drawn to.
5. Be outgoing…or at least fake it. For you introverts (I can relate), try to use every opportunity to network. Your most vital job search technique must include networking. Networking doesn’t necessarily mean going to large arranged events—maybe your thing is small get-together. Real networking is a daily thing and that’s why you have to be on your game every day. Always think of helping others in whichever way you can. The help you need will come around.
6. Mind your manners. “Thank you,” “It was great seeing you,” “Hope your day is wonderful,” etc., go a long way. These are things we learned in Kindergarten, yet not all of us practice the niceties as much as we should. I am often thanked by customers after a workshop. It’s nice to be appreciated, to know I play a small part in their finding a job.
7. Be prepared to talk about yourself. I’m not talking about a contrived elevator pitch which can be more irritating than impressive. Talk about your passion and how it’s led to your success. Explain your situation—you’re in transition but see hope—and your needs. Also listen to what others have to say; no one appreciates someone who does all the talking.
8. Don’t appear desperate and despondent. Most people want to help you, but if you seem like you are giving up the battle—your peers, career advisors, and people employed in your industry—will doubt your ability to succeed at your next job. “Don’t let ‘em see you sweat.”
9. Hide your anger. Some of the people I help don’t hide their anger. I tell them their anger comes across loud and clear and…it impresses no one. Yes, you were unfairly let go; but people are not drawn to anger. They’re pushed away.
Read this post on A little advice for my angry LinkedIn connection.
10. Think about the endgame. This means following-up. Have the attitude that follow-up is essential in the job search. Tell someone you’ll call them, call them. Tell someone you’ll meed them for coffee, meet them for coffee. Don’t drop the ball. When you don’t follow up, you lose possible opportunities.
Why does this matter?
Simply put, your job search is ongoing. You are being judged wherever you go. The man or woman who has the authority to hire you, may be standing behind you in the checkout line. Those who try to help you take into account the aforementioned aspects of your overall attitude. If given the choice to recommend someone for a position, anyone is likely to back the person who has their attitude in check.
As I’ve said, maintaining a pleasant demeanor and appearing positive is difficult under an extremely stressful situation like being unemployed; but I’ll guarantee you that a negative approach to conquering unemployment will not lead to quick employment. Be mindful at all times how you appear to others.
Top photo courteous of Flickr, Laura Vanzo