Someone asked me recently, “Why did you apply for this particular job?” I was glad that my answer wasn’t “Because I really need one!”

But what do you do if that is indeed the answer deep down? And how do you keep that desperation from affecting your job search process? Here are some tips for keeping that desperation at bay:

  • Talk to positive people—All of us have in our networks some people who are encouraging and others who are ready to commiserate with us. Both have value, but when you are trying to get into a healthy mental space, spend more time with those who help you feel more confident rather than those who are ready to join you in the Slough of Despond.
  • Change your language—Talking to people about your job search is great, but think about how you can solve problems for a company rather than how much you need a job. Using more positive language will feed more positive feelings to your network and to yourself.
  • Choose wisely—Applying for a million jobs sounds like it ought to land you just one, but would it be the right one, anyway? Focus your search on jobs that look like they will make you happy and fulfilled, that suit your life and your passions. You will go into any interview excited about the prospect of a better future.
  • Work with a recruiter—Not only can a recruiter steer you to roles which are truly suitable, they can coach you for interviews, help you tweak your resume to work better for you, and give you inside information that can make the difference when trying to land that perfect job.

Of course, there is a difference between being desperate and just looking like you are. Be sure to avoid these behaviors that could make you appear desperate even when you are not:

  • Too Many—Don’t apply for ten jobs at your target company, even though you really want to work there. Apply for the right job, get an interview and let the hiring manager realize that you are as good are better for another opening if you’re not right for that one.
  • Too MuchFollow through and follow up are both important, but if you contact the hiring manager too many times or via too many channels—or worse, at inappropriate times—you don’t look eager, you look over-eager. And maybe annoying before you even get a chance to show that you’re not.
  • Too Cute—Preparing for your interview by practicing answers to likely questions is key, but planning out clever ways of saying “I’m perfect for this job!” can make you seem less genuine and more panicky. Instead, plan to tell stories that show your interviewer that you are perfect by example and let her draw her own conclusions.

During any job search, there are periods of frustration and anxiety. Don’t beat yourself up about those feelings. Be proactive in your behavior and those times will pass quickly and your search will benefit from your positivity.

Wendy Stackhouse, for Artisan Creative