Positive thinking expert Martin Seligman notes the importance of well-being in his 2011 best-seller, Flourish. It occurs to me that job searching, consisting as it does of routine upon routine, may drain millions of well-being, particularly for those who have been searching a long time with limited results.
Seligman offers the PERMA model as a way to explore the 5 key elements necessary to ensure lifelong well-being: Positive Emotion, Engagement, Positive Relationships, Meaning, and Achievement. I’d like to tackle these one-by-one and apply each to the grueling process of searching for work in the most difficult economic circumstances most of us have ever seen.
Let’s start with Positive Emotion. Leadership and productivity expert James Manktelow, CEO of MindTools.com, suggests conducting a personal SWOT analysis to cultivate positive feelings in our work; this same tool can be readily applied to job searches. Try reflecting on the following questions:
Your Job Search Strengths:
- What advantages (skills, education, connections) do you bring to your search?
- What do you do better than the average seeker?
- What positive habits do you bring to your search?
- What connections do you have with influencers?
Your Job Search Weaknesses:
- Which job search tasks do you typically avoid?
- How confident are you in your ability to land your next role within your target timeframe?
- What are your negative job search habits?
- Do you have any personality traits which are holding you back?
Your Job Search Opportunities:
- What help can you access via technology in your search?
- Do you have or are you building a network of strong career contacts?
- Which parts of your target industries are growing?
- Which search strategies are others leveraging well?
Your Job Search Threats:
- What are your top job search obstacles?
- How is the job search different for you this time around?
- What is it that your competitors have that you do not?
- Which of your weaknesses can most threaten your job search results?
Too few seekers transfer the skills they’ve gained in their career to the search itself, yet these same skills represent inherent advantages. Take a few minutes to conduct your own job search SWOT analysis – then strategize how to play to your strengths, improve your weaknesses, seize your opportunities, and minimize the threats to your success.
Here’s to your success,