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Avoiding Extremes

While a difficult job search is enough to bring anybody down, it is also important to avoid being overly optimistic about your odds.

Here are five tips from the experts on how to stay balanced, keep grounded and avoid emotional extremes.

1. Remain realistic. Take your job search seriously and expect you will sometimes be rejected. “Finding work may be the hardest job a person does,” says Richard Chambers, communications director for B.C.’s Ministry of Employment and Income Assistance. “It’s important you approach a number of different employers at the same time, so not all your eggs are in the same basket.”

2. Get out and network. Attend job search support groups to share ideas and experiences. Paul Goodrick, a career information specialist with RDK Career Services, suggests that when you get particularly frustrated, it can help to get perspectives outside of your immediate friends and family. “Try to get out and meet people. If you’re a bit shy, it will be more of a challenge, but talking to people is the best way to get referrals.”

3. Have a backup plan. Despite your best efforts, you might not find the perfect job right away. Be willing to accept an entry-level position or a part-time job while you continue your search. “It’s great to be optimistic, but it’s good to have a contingency plan. Sometimes people have to take a survival job to pay the bills,” says Mr. Goodrick.

4. Vary your approach. Try a number of different application methods. Stuart Headley, case manager for Progressive Intercultural Community Services, suggests using free Internet services at local libraries to submit online applications, then going to businesses and dropping off resumés in person. “That’s how people did it for many decades. Every time you walk through a door, you learn something new,” Headley notes. Even if you don’t land the job that time around, you will gain first-hand information about the company’s attitudes and organization, which can help you down the road.

5. Be patient. Finding a job can be a long process, so go easy on yourself. “Give yourself time to get the dream job,” encourages Sabina Zahn, an advisor at the Vancouver East Employment Resource Centre. “If somebody puts in a lot of perseverance and determination, they will succeed.”