Five Secrets of Winning Job Hunters

Published: Mar 10, 2009

Topics: Job Search       

Completing a 26-mile marathon race shares some characteristics with a successful job search. There is one "winner" who crosses the finish line first. There are the many who quit before they've completed the race. Finally, there are the rest of us who don't finish first, but are determined to complete the race nevertheless.

For most of us, half the battle is finishing the race, regardless of where we place among the finishers. The same goes for a job search.

I'm a veteran of three career changes and numerous job searches. For me, job hunting made flying during turbulence, nails dug into the arms of my seat, seem relaxing by comparison. Yet it was a learning experience; what some call a "character builder." The good news is that after each episode of job hunting, I became better at the game. I also noticed that job hunting always strengthened and prepared me for my next job. Looking at my own growth plus that of other successful job seekers, it boils down to five characteristics.

Here are five secrets of winning job hunters:

1) Visualize: Marathon runners and other goal-directed athletes are great at visualization. They set a goal and see themselves achieving it. The same applies for your job search. Set a goal and see yourself achieving it. No matter how many setbacks you have, hold that vision of the job you want. Continue to hold it. Focus on the outcome you want, and not on how you're going to achieve it. Picture it in your mind. Be specific. What is your supervisor like? How about your co-workers? What is your workspace like? What is your workday like? How do you dress? What hours do you work? Including your right brain in the imagination and visualization process enhances the achievement of your goal.

2) Be persistent: Just as in running a marathon, nothing worth having is ever easy to achieve. There is a lot of rejection in job search. Sometimes it seems as if you'll never get a "yes." Remember what good sales people already know. That winning a sale, a job, or any other goal is a numbers game. Commission sales people will tell you that every "no" is one step closer to a "yes." When you can see your process from a more objective viewpoint, knowing that you're one more rejection closer to a "yes," you'll be less inclined to take the "no's" personally, and less likely to get discouraged.

3) Replenish yourself: The job search process, like a marathon race, can be an endurance test with a lot of disappointments and setbacks. It can also go on for weeks, months, and for some people, even a year or more. Top marathoners know that they have to nourish their bodies in order to prevail. You need to nourish your mind and spirit as well. If you're going to outlast this process and prevail, you have to take care of yourself. This means taking time to relax to take your mind off the challenges, frustrations and rejections. Work hard on your job search, then take time out to exercise and pursue activities that bring you joy and replenish you.

4) Inoculate yourself against negative messages: Succeeding at a job search is a mental process, and negative input from anywhere can poison your mental outlook and encourage fear, discouragement, anxiety, anger and other negative emotions. Associate with positive people and protect yourself from all types of negativity. A job search journey can be a big undertaking. You need all of the assets and advantages that you can possibly bring to the party. You can't afford to be exposed to the negativity of others. This includes friends, relatives and negative articles in newspapers and magazines as well as negative TV shows. Make a point of reading books and articles that motivate, encourage and inspire you. Avoid anything and anyone that doesn't fall into this category.

5) Meditate: This can be the most important secret, yet it can be very simple. Take some time every day to be still and to get away from the "white noise" of life. Whether you are a spiritual person or not, commit to some quiet time away from the noise of TV, radio and other distractions. Give yourself the gift of quietness to contemplate, calm down and center yourself. Even five minutes of quiet time can make a positive difference in your life. This is an opportunity to relax, focus and renew yourself. It will ground you and make it easier to face and overcome the stresses of your job search journey ahead.

As with successful marathoners, job hunters have some secret tactics that make their success look easy to others. Winning the job search game has a mental component. Developing the above five winning secret tactics will enhance your chances of success, and make the process more pleasant and less stressful.

As a recruiter, Joe Turner has spent the past 15 years finding and placing top candidates in some of the best jobs of their careers. Known on the Internet as "The Job Search Guy," Joe has also authored how-to books on interviewing and job search. He's been interviewed on several radio talk shows. Discover more insider job search secrets by visiting: