Last week was my first full week at my new job. I came home Friday evening tired, a little stressed, and more than a little happy. I felt like I had finally accomplished something I had been working hard for since I graduated with my Masters, and it certainly had been an uphill battle. Thinking about my job search and all that encompassed, one thing really jumps out at me: I would go for weeks without applying for positions in the field that I really wanted, which is publishing and editing. All of this was intentional–I knew exactly what I was doing. So why would I limit myself in my job search like that?

In my mind, I thought, “Well, every English major who isn’t teaching wants to write or work for a publishing company. Of course I won’t get an editing position before all those other people.” This type of thinking was the worst thing I could do for my confidence and my career search. I believed that I was not qualified enough for editing positions with which I had some interning experience (with Karen and also with a small magazine in Philadelphia). How could I be so negative? One of the most important things to remember while searching for a job is to always stay positive. I probably couldn’t sound more cheesy but honestly, it’s true. Searching for a full-time job is your full-time job, and you can be your best asset or your own worst enemy.

I experienced horrible gray days where all I wanted to do was sleep until noon and watch TV so I wouldn’t have to think about how I had a Masters degree and no job. Everyone has days like that, where your problems seem too big to conquer. And everyone has the resources to help pull them out of their slump, like friends, family, and mentors. But the most powerful resource you have in your career search is yourself, because only you know exactly what you have to offer a company. You can decide what your frame of mind will be for the day and how you will present yourself to the world.

During my job transition, I think I limited myself by not allowing myself to even try for what I wanted and believed I deserved. One of the best things you can do for yourself is to decide what you love to do, whether that’s a career or even a hobby, and do it, no exceptions. Give yourself your own silver lining and stay positive. Trust me, it pays off!

Well, now that I’ve bored you all with my feel-good cliches, tell me, have you limited yourself the same way I have? Or are you dealing with other challenges that restrict you in your career transition?