Five rules to encourage Optimism and to discourage Negativity Don’t Bring Your Baggage Into The Job Interview

October 30, 2012 |

The truth is that you may have very good reason to have baggage regarding the interview. You may feel frustrated and angry about today’s job market. You served your country with good intentions and what reward do you get when you come home? A job market that doesn’t feel “user friendly.” A job market that seems to say, “We no longer need your services.” But here’s the hard part – you’ve got to let go of all that before you go into an interview.

Going into an interview with baggage is like dragging a big black garbage bag along behind you and parking it next to your chair during the interview. And it is going to start to “stink” after awhile.

Nobody wants to hear about your problems and baggage. Some people’s lives begin to sound like a Soap Opera; there have been so many extenuating circumstances. You may have been treated unfairly in the military – had a jerk for a Commander or other officers. But, please – don’t feel compelled to share every detail with the interviewer. It’s a Big Mistake if you do.

The best advice is to let go of those negative feelings and move on. Easier said then done? You bet. But until you resolve the issues with yourself – through one form of exorcism or another – you will continue to carry around your bag of old wounds and stories.

Even if you were treated unjustly – let it go – work on it in private or with someone trained to help you – but don’t bring that anger into the interview. A good interviewer can feel hostility the minute it walks in the door.

If you’ve been in job search for more than a few weeks you could be experiencing feelings of defeat and despair, not to mention the urge to give up. Its been a tough few years, and interviewing with no second interview call-backs or no offers coming in begins to wear thin – very fast.

Here are five rules to encourage Optimism and to discourage Negativity:

1.  Accept that there will be ups and downs
It’s not unusual to have highs and lows during your job search. Some days you may even feel like you’re on an emotional roller coaster. Everything looks hopeful one moment with a job prospect ahead, and then it changes to dark and dismal in the next moment when you receive a rejection. Accepting the fact that this is a stressful time you are going through and that a great deal of it is out of your control will help you put things into perspective.

2.  Give yourself permission to fail.
It is very disappointing when you feel like you “aced” the interview and then wait for the promised call that never comes. Be realistic – you aren’t going to get a job offer after every interview. Think of it this way, you didn’t marry every date you ever dated (at least most of us didn’t) and you aren’t going to get a job offer after every interview. And maybe that’s a good thing, at least some of the time. Remember, you are interviewing “them” as much as they are interviewing you.

3. Work on controlling stress
Stress becomes a problem when it begins to affect your lifestyle and health. If you are waking up in the middle of the night and worrying about your situation or skipping meals because you are feeling really down or upset, you may need to talk to someone who is  professionally trained in these matters. There are several outlets for stress including, exercise, yoga, running, walking, aerobics, or other physical activities.

4. Continue to get “out there”
Study after study continues to indicate that “networking” is still the number one way to land a job. Take advantage of every opportunity to connect with groups of people. This encompasses everything from social networking to your child’s soccer game. Informal networking can happen at any moment and when you least expect it.

5. Prepare yourself
Preparing ahead of the interview will give you a definite advantage. What this means is getting focused about what you want in a job as well as knowing what the interviewer wants in an employee. It is important to be able to identify what makes you unique and what added value you can bring to the position. Make sure that you are in touch with what the employers is hoping to find in a candidate. A good way to find out about the interviewer’s “wish list” is to read through the job posting you are applying for and read “between the lines” to get a sense of what it will take to do this job. Try looking at it from interviewer’s point of view. You want to let the interviewer know that you are the “solution to the problem,” and the best person for the job.

There is no easy answer to getting a job in this market and economy, but remember you are not alone. Work with others to help each other through these times.

It is an extremely tight job market, and it is essential that you are prepared, focused, and able to tell the interviewer what makes you unique and why you are the best person for the job.

Job interview expert Carole Martin has been a prime contributor to our Veteran Jobs blog, and now she’s offering her advice to veterans and service members who have questions, general or specific, about tackling the civilian job interview process. Send Carole your questions at, and moving forward, we’ll feature her answers in this blog.

The Interview Coach, Carole Martin, is a celebrated author, job coach, and speaker on the subject of interviewing and recruiting. She is also a contributing writer at and featured on talk radio. Carole is using her proven methods for coaching job seekers on competitive interviewing skills in technical and non-technical industries. You can download her free worksheet for determining your Values Exercise at the Interview Coach website. Follow The Interview Coach on Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin to learn about current workshops and seminars Carole is offering.

About Carole Martin

The Interview Coach, Carole Martin, is a celebrated author, job coach, and speaker on the subject of interviewing and recruiting. A contributing writer at and featured on talk radio, Carole is using her proven methods for coaching job seekers on competitive interviewing skills in technical and non-technical industries. Learn more about her Federal Agency Interview Coaching and Coaching for Business Interviews at
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  1. Ernest says:

    I wonder if there is such thing as being "positively angry".

    But, it can be hard to receive a job and then work with optimistic people even though you are truly a negative person.

    To me, I would rather be around people who are like me or at least understand why and where I come.

  2. Albert J Gedult says:

    I am a disabled veteran (50%) of the US Navy. Age discrimination is big on the unemployed. That is one way that employers can get away with. I got out in 09/1986. I am 58. I haven't found a permanent job since 07/2010. Everything else is 3 months here and a month there and a few days there, nothing permanent. At my age, see were your disability lies and see your doctor at the VA hospital to set you up.

  3. Joseph Fuselier says:

    I am A US.NAVY/US.ARMY/ARMY NATIONAL GUARD Veteran. The problem I
    have encountered is dealing with nepotism in the airlines business in Australia.
    American veterans skills do not translate very well in certain sectors. twenty nine years experience in aviation flight operations/logistics but apart from a brief stint in freight for twelve months part-time; I made full-time in 2007! I am glad for that of course! I have performed leading hand duties in cabin cleaning now for ten years service so far. I applied for movement control officer positions similar to my aviation flight operations skills-no reply!
    I am a good person but I believe what says about culture in organisations is very true-and added to that americans are not always welcomed here because of our national defense/security/political views that some in business may sharply disagree with only you won"t openly get that told to you in a job interview or that they may feel intimidated because they may think you are a job threat to them so nepotism is easier to use- it is secret and no one can prove a thing