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Self-Nurturing During the Job Search

These are more than just self-nurturing tips. These have side benefits that relate to your career transition. Let us know what YOU have found that helps lift your spirits when unemployment gets you down.

Portfolio Power

Make a portfolio. Include a collection of testimonials from colleagues, awards, and work samples. While you're putting this together, your battered self-confidence will rise again as you remind yourself of the your accomplishments and the people who make up your cheering section. I have portfolios in four formats: on CD ROM, on web pages, in a notebook, and as e-mail attachments. That way, I can get my propaganda, I mean, my portfolio out to people in the format that works best for them. Impress with a format they use in their company. If you want help putting yours together, I do that as part of my coaching services. Contact Jean for info.

Letters of Reference

Ask for notes of recommendation from previous colleagues - not just previous bosses. To make it easier for them, you can suggest things they about might talk about in their note. Some people will even ask you to write it, and they'll change it as they wish - but often will just sign it!

Supportive People

Seek out people to remind you that you actually are a capable, lovable person and can actually give you evidence to prove it!

Friends - Ask friends for virtual hugs as well as real ones. I emailed several friends to ask if they had any ideas for my job search. Then I said: "Also, if any of you want to remind me how wonderful and capable I am, it would sure be a welcome boost." From this, I got a lead from a Dallas friend who had a Denver connection. I also got some excellent suggestions for places to search. But what meant as much or more to me was the encouragement and love they sent my way. Don't be too proud to ask for a boost from your good friends!

Counselor - Since I was paying mega-bucks for my Cobra insurance anyway, I decided to take advantage of it to go to a counselor, for a mere $10 co-pay per visit (otherwise $100!). After mine got to know me, I had her help me practice stating my skills and experience in a confident way - "You didn't sound confident there - what about your experience when you were doing such-and-such" Very helpful in helping me feel better about myself again!

Minister or spiritual counselor from church - This help is often free or just a donation of whatever amount feel you can give. Or just attending services can get you centered. If you're not typically a church goer, I can tell you about some non-denominational churches where the ministers really address practical matters - such as being laid off!

Examples of side benefits:

At one church I go to, they even said they'd let me use their Barco projector to practice a PowerPoint presentaton I had to do. This was for a company that had me do a presentation as one of the hoops I had to jump through in their screening process.

I also got a really nice contract job at a church workshop - through a woman I didn't even know! People who meet you at church just seem to automatically have a greater level of trust in you.

Coach - Do you ever feel like your reality check just bounced? You need someone who can help you do a reality check, get a better perspective, to reassure you, and remind you of your value.

  • Get coaching in Career Marketing from Tracy Laswell at CAREER-Magic
  • Get coaching in self-nurturing as it relates to the layoff, job search, or career transition from Jean Zartner at Selfnurture.com. Contact Jean for info.


Collections of humor and humor links on Selfnurture.com:

For Laughter Lovers
Laughter Lovers: Featured Article
Links for Laughter Lovers

Tapping Into an Aspect of your Life Where you Excel

Doing an activity where you excel balances your perspective as it lifts your spirits. A side benefit of this is that there MAY be a way you can make money. For me it's teaching dance. What are your hobbies, and how could they be turned into a pocket-book booster as well as a morale booster?

Grooming Therapy

Notice the little lift you get when you put a shine on your shoes or - if you're a woman - lipstick on your lips. A facial can lift your spirits as well as your face. Manicures seem like a splurge, but are an investment for your interviewing. If you have these pamperings done at a beauty school it costs a lot less than a salon. Or swap with friends.

How Employment Agencies Can Boost Your Ego

Register with employment agencies. When you go to meet with them, you can build your confidence, as well as practice interviewing. Some will give you tests from which you may discover that your skills are better than you give yourself credit for. What a nice boost!

Folk Wisdom

LISTEN when friends and acquaintances repeat similar words of wisdom. For instance:

  • "The right job is coming."
  • "That wasn't the right job for you."
  • "The perfect job is out there for you."

At first, you may think, "Hrrmmph! Easy for you to say!" You may consider them meaningless platitudes, but actually they are gifts. These people have had similar experiences, lived through them, and are trying to help you do the same. Accept them, write them down, and display them as affirmations.

Three Little Questions

When you're feeling down, ask yourself these three questions:

1. Do you have friends or family who love you?

2. Are you NOT in the hospital?

3. Can you afford rent and food?

If you answer yes to these, you'll get a better perspective on the job situation.

Get Out of the House

Getting out is better than staring at the Internet. It helps you keep your sense of reality and connectedness.

Following this tip also helps you Network. Here are some suggestions:

The Upward Job Search Spiral

Envision your job search as an upward spiral that gets large with each ascending loop. You may feel like you're stuck in a quagmire, or wandering aimlessly on a vast plateau. But by looking at it in this visual way, you can see the progress you're making. It makes it seem more tangible.

Imagine that each upward loop is a job interview.
The corresponding downward loop represents NOT getting the job offer.

But for each loop, you have gotten closer to your goal of interviewing with 7 to 10 companies (the average number it takes before you get a job offer!).

As you move higher up the loops, they get bigger. That's because you are learning more with each interview: more about what to do and what not to do; more about what you want and what you don't want. You also improve your job search tools (portfolio, resume, cover letters) with experience and tweaking them as you go.

The loops also get bigger because you continue networking and just keep throwing the net wider and wider.


I have LOTS of helpful journaling ideas. Too many to cover here. Contact Jean if you want some one-on-one help with your journaling

Changing Your Focus

Changing your focus means putting a positive spin on things. Adjust the way you look at a situation until you can see it in a better light.

I have lots of examples on how to do this during your job search. It's such a big topic, I'll add an article about it later. In the meantime, contact Jean if you need help changing your focus.

Hang out with nature. Natural things are NOT touched by layoffs - they are oblivious to the things that we humans fret about obsessively. We can learn a lot from nature, too.

Tracy Laswell told me once that I was suffering the curse of the big brain. She said a bird has a little brain - and if it doesn't find a worm at one spot, it doesn't sit around analyzing and thinking, "I must be doing something wrong. I'm a failure. The worm economy is bad." No, instead the bird, with its little brain, and its instinct for survival, just keeps looking until it finds the worm

I like to visit cats when I feel stressed. If you ask a cat, "Are you concerned about all these layoffs?" that cat will probably look at you as if to say, "Lay off, lay on, lay under, lay around - it's all good."

Being laid off has allowed me to spend a lot more time in the mountains thanks to my laptop that has been an absolutely WONDERFUL side effect of the layoff! Ask the babbling brook. "Do these layoffs worry you?" "No, babble babble, I just keep rollin', keep on rollin' along."

Or ask a tree. "What about layoffs?" "Well, layoffs are good! I do it every fall, and I'm stronger than ever!"


Doctors and health professions strongly recommend exercise to fight depression. Why not use exercise as a networking activity, too. Mention your job search to people at the gym, at a hiking club, or at dances, for instance.

Use solitary exercise, such as yoga or tai chi to de-stress and become more calm and poised for those interviews!

If you need to take a part-time or temporary job while job hunting, try something physical! It's a great balance to the mental effort of career marketing.

Resources from Selfnurture.com

Self-Nurturing Solitaire has 53 self-nurturing tips for handling stress, in general.

Contact Jean to find out more about the Confidence Workout. These CDs and tapes are only $10 each, including shipping, and will give you 10 proven techniques for building your confidence. You also receive interactive activity sheets.

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