Lets Talk A Positive Attitude


Saying you have a positive attitude in a cover letter and resume might help land that big interview. When sitting in the interview itself, it will probably do serve you well to say it again just to reinforce the point. What however, does a positive attitude look like on the job? How would you prove by example to an interviewer that you bring this positivity to the workplace?

In other words, supposing you were asked, “Give us an example from your previous position where your positive attitude was tested.” Would you be able to answer this question? What would you say then?

You see it’s easy to say that you bring a positive attitude to work on a daily basis. To be believed however, you’ll need to have at a moments notice, a real, tangible example, (several would be ideal) of specific situations where your positive attitude was on display. A situation where your attitude was tested simply means that the situation or atmosphere in which you found yourself in the story you are about to relate was trying and where it might have been easy to join with others and be negative or complacent. The best answer for you could be where your positive attitude had the impact of changing for the better the mood and attitude of others around you; thereby increasing productivity overall.

Now you shouldn’t be surprised at this question if the job ad specifically mentions a positive culture, a winning attitude, etc. While it’s perfectly fine to pause when asked each question to gather your thoughts, you certainly don’t want a long, extended delay which could be interpreted as not having any specific examples to give at all; seemingly having come unprepared. Why, a very long pause could also give an Interviewer the feeling that what they will eventually hear is fabricated, made up, invented and never happened at all.

It is in the face of adversity; or in moments when you receive news that throws you off – such as having the boss tell you you’re doing something completely different on a given day than what you’d been looking forward to – that tests your positive attitude. The organizations that specifically go out recruiting people with positive attitudes believe that with the addition of such people, the workplace in which their employees create will itself become a more positive place to work.

I for one learned when I was in my 20’s that surrounding myself with positive people when possible was much preferable to being around negative thinkers; people who often cast a pall over conversations. I’d rather celebrate a sunny day than have someone point out there’s rain coming tomorrow. Now sure, there are times when people have good reasons to be less than positive. Having a positive attitude doesn’t mean you walk around with a smile no matter the circumstances, living in your own fantasy world. That’s artificial and really doesn’t need much effort if it’s your everyday, all-situations disposition.

People with a positive attitude however will generally be optimistic, look for the upside when possible, and they are generally good people to be around. Would you like to come to work surround by positive people or choose rather to surround yourself with others who’ve created a toxic environment of negativity?

Throughout your day, most of us have interactions with other people; be they on the telephone, in-person, video links etc., or what we choose to read in texts, blogs, newspapers, etc. In many of these situations, we have full control over what we read, what we say, how long we engage or remove ourselves. Some people advocate that if you’re feeling down you stop reading newspapers, stop listening to the news on the radio, remove yourself from the cancerous conversations in the workplace and in so doing, you cut your own exposure to the negative.

I think it’s important to know what’s going on in the world, some of which is bad. It’s equally good to know what might be happening with a co-worker you’ve come to value and appreciate that’s caused them to be sad, troubled or worried about. The challenge is to display empathy, express your concern and still remain a positive person yourself without allowing your attitude to dip. Telling someone to bear up and look on the bright side of things isn’t going to be helpful when they really just need to be heard, their feelings validated and above all listened to.

The situations you want to avoid are those where you hear a couple of people questioning the motives of Management, some are spreading gossip, rumours or you’ve got some co-workers who have become jaded in their views of their clients or customers. “They are all scamming!” “Everyone is cheating the system!” “It’s us against them you know old buddy boy!” Walk away clean my friend; walk away clean.

Positive people don’t wear rose-coloured glasses all the time. What positive people do is give the benefit of the doubt, be good role models for others, and most importantly, they attract other positive people to themselves simply by gaining a reputation for being a positive person in general.

Everyone has their moments and their days. Do you have the skill necessary to be self-aware and catch yourself slipping away from your usual positive self and correcting your own behaviour? That would be a great example to share.

Develop The Habits Employers Want


Ever been in a job interview and been asked a question about a gap in your resume? They may have asked, “So what have you been doing since you last worked?”, or “What did you do to prepare for this interview?” All three of these questions give you the opportunity to demonstrate to the employer one key thing and that is what you’ve been doing – or not – when you’ve been in full control of the time you’ve had.

They are interested to see if you’ve taken some initiative, been proactive, made the most of this period, learned anything new, taken some training, upgraded your skills, addressed a weakness, improved your health, expanded your knowledge, etc. They are also checking to see if you’ve been complacent, dormant, passive, let your skills slide, removed yourself from the field you’re saying your interested in now. In short, have you been developing and keeping up your good habits or haven’t you?

Developing and maintaining good habits; the kind of actions and behaviours that employers desire the most, are not only a good idea, they could be the difference between getting a job or not. It’s one thing to say you’re invested in the work that you’ll be doing for a company and quite another to demonstrate that you’re invested.

Now suppose for example you’re out of work altogether and you are applying for an administrative position. You can foresee that some of the people you are going to be competing with are currently employed elsewhere in those positions which gives them a distinct advantage. You may not be employed, but you can still employ the skills that would be used on a daily basis by someone in that position. So for example you can practice your keyboarding skills, make a daily ‘to-do’ list, organize your personal or family paperwork. Buy some file folders and organize all the bills, receipts, various warranties for household items you own under categories like: Insurance, Autos, Mortgage, Vacation, Renovations, Taxes, Identification, Investments, etc.

If the above seems onerous, too challenging, beyond what you want to put energy into, then I’d suggest you might not be ready for the job you are actually saying you want to do. After all, if you can’t be bothered using these same skills for yourself, why should an employer feel you’re the right person to get things in order for them?

One thing you have 100% control over is your personal schedule. With no employer to record your attendance, check on your productivity, evaluate your adherence to a dress code, measure your attitude, do you or don’t you have the self-discipline to monitor yourself? You may disagree as is your prerogative, but getting up, showered and dressed on a set schedule even when you are not working is a key part of maintaining good personal behaviours that are consistent with what employers expect. Many people who go months without work and then get a job do not respond well when suddenly they get hired and have to be sitting at a desk at 8:30 a.m. dressed professionally, wide awake and ready to go at top speed.

Look into free or low-cost training opportunities in your community and then sign up to hone your skills, update your resume afterwards and keep your mind sharp. Small rather simple things like adhering to a 15 minute break in those workshops and training programs is what employers will demand you do when on the job. If you take your 15 minute break and come back only to then go about making your coffee you’re not demonstrating a respect for what the 15 minute break is for.

Another key thing to keep up is your personal communication skills; both written and verbal. You can’t do either if you sequester yourself away behind the curtains of your living room and cut yourself off from all contact. Talk with people, engage in conversations with store clerks, the paper boy, mail carriers, people you meet on walks around the neighbourhood, cashiers; all the people you meet. Your people skills need to stay sharp as does your comfort initiating conversations.

Like so many things in life, what you do with your time while you are between jobs really says a lot about you and your values. You are free to do what you wish with your time and are accountable in the end to only yourself. That’s a double-edged precious gift however. There are consequences – and don’t fool yourself into thinking there aren’t – both good and bad for whether that time is productive or wasted.

Most of the people I counsel who are out of work know they should be making good use of their time. They sound remorseful and want to rediscover that drive and personal motivation they had when they were working. They bank on igniting that energy and ‘turning it on’ when they get a job. However, many also find that when they do get hired, they lose those jobs quickly. They tell me that they couldn’t work as fast as the employer wanted them to, they just didn’t fit in, they were so exhausted after three days on the job they were late on the 4th day and were told not to return. In short, they hadn’t keep up good habits when unemployed and couldn’t work at the high level expected.

Good habits are something you control. Ignore developing good habits and you’ll develop bad ones by default.