avoiding discouragement

10 ways to beat the blues in a long job hunt

June 10, 2011: 11:15 AM ET

It's hard to stay upbeat when you've been pounding the pavement for months on end. Here are a few tips on how to stay in the game.

By Anne Fisher, contributor

FORTUNE -- Dear Annie: My husband's job in IT management was sent overseas more than two years ago, and since then, the interviews have been few and far between, with no job offers. We know he will eventually find work, and we're trying to stay positive, but the lack of response from employers is really tough on his psyche (and mine). Do you and your readers have any advice on overcoming the urge to just give up? — Tired Times Two

Dear Tired: "The loss of a job is one of the most stressful life events," notes Jayne Mattson. "Yet the psychological toll it takes is often overlooked. When you lose a job, especially in this economy where it can be so difficult to find another one, it's hard to maintain your sense of self."

Mattson, a senior vice president at outplacement and executive coaching firm Keystone Associates, specializes in helping people like your husband avoid getting so discouraged that they stop trying to find work. In her seminars and coaching sessions, she offers 10 suggestions that may help.

1. Keep news reports in perspective. A steady drumbeat of dire unemployment headlines is unlikely to boost any job seeker's morale, so try to focus on the (admittedly few) rays of hope amid the gloom. It may be useful to keep in mind, for example, that while the overall unemployment rate is stuck at 9.1%, joblessness among people with a college degree is less than half that (about 4%). "Aggregate statistics never tell the whole story," Mattson points out. "So don't let them get you down." More

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