GNcareers, from Gulf News

Don't start a job hunt in desperation

Don't start a job hunt in desperationImage Credit: Supplied

Many people begin job hunting in a rush to get out of a particular situation in their current role. This could be set off by a change in their circumstance, a new boss or a foreseeable layoff that is forcing them to make the move to avoid unemployment.

Although it is good to act quickly when things start going downhill, being rushed can be damaging to job prospects. When unprepared and your efforts are triggered by an event, you are less likely to maintain the positive outlook that employers look for in candidates. You may appear nervous, desperate, bitter, or even worse, on the verge of getting fired.

So how can you balance your need for a new job fairly quickly with presenting yourself appropriately? Here are a few tips that can help you achieve this goal.

Make a decision first

Think clearly about your alternatives to getting a new job. Are you reacting to an event that may have been exceptional? Apart from this event, would you — in this stage of your career — feel comfortable changing jobs?

Factors that you might consider are: How long have you been with the employer? That is because you don't want to be seen as a job-hopper. Is your move likely to bring about a better job in terms of status, title, money, etc.? Finally, whether you'd have changed jobs anyway if something popped up that meets your expectations.

If you find out that the sole reason you want to change jobs is that one event, you probably should stick around longer and work things out. If you have reached a stage where you would have changed jobs anyway and are in a position to move, this could be the right time.

Once you make this decision, be aware that the event could just have been the last straw, or the nudge needed to move on. So don't blame the move on this one instance. Trying to see the overall picture for your decision to change jobs will help you act out of confidence.

Get ready

If you have an argument with your supervisor in the morning, do not go home and start sending out resumes. Take your time to think and comprehend what happened. In addition, take a close look at what you are sending out.

You never know: The best job opportunity for you out there could be the first one that you apply. If you send a sloppy cover letter and a dated resume you probably will be shooting yourself in the foot.

In addition, get ready mentally for the entire job-hunting process. If you have been through this, you probably know you will need patience, persistence and a lot of positive attitude. If still worked up about what happened in the current job, you may find it difficult to shift moods.

A day or two can make a huge difference in how prepared you can become, and the opportunities probably will be still there for you.

Keep a positive outlook

If called for a phone interview or an in-person interview, remember to stay positive about yourself, your career and the current situation as much as possible. Avoid taking questions such as, ''why do you want to change jobs?'' as an invitation to badmouth the current employer.

In fact, if you're going through a really difficult situation, prepare a script to answer such a question and any potential follow-up questions.

Being bitter during a job interview is often discouraging for future employers. If you seem like you've lost your passion for the career or simply trying to move to any other job, the employer will wonder if the attitude has contributed to the current job crisis. The best approach is to alienate the problem as much as possible, be positive, and present yourself as the right fit for the opportunity being interviewed for.

How to avoid impulse job hunting

Don't rush into job interviews.

Evaluate your entire career and job situation.

Look into alternatives.

Remember not to badmouth your employer.

Stay positive.

Here's a guide on homing in on the small hurdles and overcoming them

Source: Rania Oteify, Special to

The writer, a former Gulf News Business Features Editor, is a Seattle-based editor