My Best Advice for Job Searchers

Laughter is the best medicine and my advice to you.

Laughter is the best medicine and my advice to you.

Today while in a waiting room; I read The Atlantic June issue.  There was an interesting story for job searchers by Julie Beck, titled, “Funny or Die:  How your sense of humor can improve your health, get you pregnant, and even save your life.”  I know the subtitle doesn’t indicate it, but it really does. 

Laughing in the face of tragedy seems to shield a person from its effects. A 2013 review of studies found that among elderly patients, laughter significantly alleviated the symptoms of depression [1]. Another study, published early this year, found that firefighters who used humor as a coping strategy were somewhat protected from PTSD [2]. Laughing also seems to ease more-quotidian anxieties. One group of researchers found that watching an episode of Friends (specifically, Season Five’s “The One Where Everybody Finds Out”) was as effective at improving a person’s mood as listening to music or exercising, and more effective than resting [3].

The job searcher faces depression and anxiety.  The job search maybe more than quotidian, but stress is stress.  Everyone can benefit from laughter.   The Reader’s Digest says that Laughter is the best medicine.  And it is as this study of studies proves.

Many times I have advised my clients to stop their job search.  Their stress levels were high, and their attitudes were not conductive to a productive job search.  They needed something more than a résumé and answers to interview questions.  They needed to change their mindset from desperate to hopeful. 

I further suggested that they spend some time laughing.  I asked them to watch the funniest movies they have ever seen.  Spend time with friends and family playing games, eating and laughing.  I told them to do anything that brought them pleasure and reduce stress.

You see the best resume and best answers to interview questions aren’t enough.  You need to be in a frame of mind that is confident and hopeful.  If you aren’t, networking is pointless, a well-crafted resume and interviewing is a waste of time.  Hiring managers won’t touch you with a ten foot pole if you come across as desperate or depressed. 

Take a moment and smile.  I mean a genuine smile.  Do you feel different while you are smiling?  You should.  There is a relaxing effect to smiling.  Now take about two minutes to watch this video.   You can skip the ad after about 5 seconds.  Watch it with an open mind.  Don’t think of anything except what you are watching. 

Did you laugh?  How did you feel when you were laughing?  I hope you felt less stressed than you did before you watched the video. This demonstrates the stress relief you get from laughing.  Don’t get me wrong, it won’t change anything except your frame of mind.  And that is what you are trying to do. 

Today, I am telling you to take the weekend and not do one thing for your job search.  Spend time watching a funny movie.  Enjoy some time with your family and/or friends.  It doesn’t have to cost much.  Have a potluck event.  Play board games or outdoor games.  Take a vacation from stress.  Laugh! 

 How can I help you with your job search?

 Image:   Stock photos



The Studies:

[1] Shaw, “Does Laughter Therapy Improve Symptoms of Depression Among the Elderly Population?” (PCOM Physician Assistant Studies dissertation, 2013)

[2] Sliter et al., “Is Humor the Best Medicine?” (Journal of Organizational Behavior, Feb. 2014)

[3] Szabo et al., “Experimental Comparison of the Psychological Benefits of Aerobic Exercise, Humor, and Music” (Humor, Sept. 2005)

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