Steve Martin had a message for job seekers in his 1977 comedy album “Let’s Get Small.”
A job seeker could stay happy if he had a banjo. Here’s the line:
“You know the banjo is so happy, I think. I think people who are out of work—instead of giving them money—we should give them a banjo. Then they’ll go home: Did you get a job today, dear? Nope! (upbeat, happy music plays).”
It’s true that music can be a powerful tool for job seekers. But there are a lot of other ways to stay positive and indicate it to others.
So read these seven indicators of a positive attitude during your job search.
You are smiling. I guess it seems obvious that a positive person would be smiling. But a job search can be stressful and busy. Not exactly the perfect environment for a smile to exist. So remember to bring your smile to networking events, job interviews and conferences. It tells people something about you from the moment you enter the room.
You are making eye contact. Combine eye contact with a smile and you are giving all the right signals to allow a conversation to start. It’s like opening a big door and saying: “Come on in.” And while you might think everyone at a networking event knows someone there or has no reservations, it’s not true. By initiating conversations with these nonverbal cues, you are playing a small leadership role for the event. You are making the first connection.
You have a complete set of marketing materials (resume, bio, business card). Being completely prepared for an event or meeting is the mark of a positive and confident job seeker. Having your materials ready says you are ready to communicate your brand and its value. And you’ve allowed someone to walk away with information to help you stay top of mind. This is important since we are all meeting so many people every week. It’s hard to keep track of everyone.
You are active and moving around the room at networking events. Some people just stand still at events—either in the corner waiting for an invitation or with a crowd of very comfortable friends. Positive people are looking to meet new contacts throughout the event because they believe someone will have an interest in their skills or background. Self-belief allows you to take risks in meeting people and sharing your brand promise.
You have a strong voice. If you have a voice that’s on the quieter side, you need to find a bigger one. Why? Because a quiet voice can hurt you during a busy networking event or job interview. If I can’t understand you or can’t hear you, there’s a basic problem. So I need to know what you are saying and have a sense that you stand by your words. A strong voice is my first indicator.
You are purposeful and have clear job search objectives. Networking or job searching with a purpose is a critical skill to learn. Until you do, the process will be impulsive and look more like socializing. And it will also deliver poor results. Having a purpose starts with clear job search objectives. A great answer to “What are you looking for?” is crucial. That answer should include a list of target companies.
You are helping others. This one has two sides. First, if you have time to help others, you must be doing something right. Second, helping others delivers a positive message to everyone around you. Those you help become evangelists within the local community. So consider taking a day off during your job search to help others.
Want to find a job faster? Be positive. Send a message to everyone around that you are worth an investment. And do it for the right reasons.
Tim Tyrell-Smith is founder of Tim's Strategy, a site that helps professionals succeed in job search, career and life strategy. Follow Tim on Twitter, @TimsStrategy, and learn about his two popular job-search books.