While November is officially the month of giving thanks and gratitude, the benefits of showing gratitude are best reaped if practiced all year long—ideally by building this practice into your life on a daily or at least weekly basis. According to research, focusing on gratitude allows us to focus on the positives in our lives, which helps to reduce stress. And that stress reduction improves both our health and our happiness.
I don’t need to tell you that engaging in a job or internship search is hard work and can be stressful. It’s easy to become overwhelmed by the feeling that you could always be doing more: applying to more positions, connecting with more people, attending more info sessions, etc. Because of this, it’s important to keep perspective in this process, and one way to do that is by maintaining an attitude of gratitude.
How can practicing gratitude help you in your search? Well, it has both practical and existential benefits!
It feels good to everyone. Expressing gratitude feels good for everyone. There are few things that make someone feel better than knowing they made an impact or truly provided something helpful to another person. Knowing they were helpful to you may even inspire them to help you further (though that shouldn’t be your primary reason for expressing gratitude as insincere gratitude is easily spotted as, well, insincere).
Expressing gratitude is like giving a gift you know the recipient is going to love. It feels good to the giver, too!
It helps you stand out in the best way possible. Because not everyone will express gratitude in the job or internship search process, doing so will help you stand out from the pack. Because saying thank you puts a smile on someone’s face, you’ll be remembered as the person who spreads joy, who thinks about others, who cares enough to take the time to say thanks.
It’s a demonstration of your positivity. Demonstrating gratitude tells others that you are a positive, happy person. And everyone wants to be surrounded by positive people—even (or maybe especially) hiring managers and others who will be spending a lot of time with the person they will be hiring. Positive people spread their positive thoughts and create a work environment that is enjoyable for all.
It’s good for your state of mind. Focusing on gratitude allows you to focus on the things that are going well in your search, rather than focusing on the stressful and overwhelming parts of the search process. Imagine what might happen and how your approach to your search might change for the better if for every resume you submit, you also send a note of thanks to someone that has helped you recently (with the search or otherwise). Focusing on what you have to be grateful for—big and small—shifts your mindset away from the stress of the search and toward the many positive things that are happening around you.
So here is my challenge to you… Share personalized and specific gratitude every day this week with a person who has helped you with your job or internship search or who has provided meaningful support to you in some other part of your life. Observe what happens to you and the world around you when you focus on what you are grateful for and spread joy. And at the end of the week, consider whether you feel any more positively about your search.
Here are some ideas to get you started, but feel free to be creative!
- Send a thoughtful hand-written thank you note
- Call a contact to share with them how they have helped you
- Treat a friend who gave you good job search advice to coffee or ice cream
- Spend a few minutes at the end of each day sharing with your roommates what each of you is grateful for that day
- Start a gratitude journal that you commit to writing in regularly