Recent reports have confirmed what has been obvious to every internship and job seeker for a while:  The job market has, once again, slowed down. Potential employers are being incredibly cautious about hiring, which creates a feeling of despair and frustration among those looking for work.  

Although you might not like the sobering news, it is important to take a proactive approach and to stay focused on job hunting.    

Here are a few tips to get you started:

1. Do a thorough reality check.  Take a hard look at the key resources you have on hand: money, contacts and opportunities. Job hunting is an enterprise in itself. It requires resources and a nimble strategy in order to work. Do you have any source of immediate income? If so, how are you spending it? How long can you go on? Do you have a budget? If not, put one together. It will help you keep track of where your money is going.  Also, take the time to review your list of friends, acquaintances and other sources of job referrals. Select 12 people from that group whom you think could become your eyes and ears and help you find job leads.

2. Seek temporary employment of any form. This is an option that many try to avoid waiting for the "real" job to come to the rescue. By considering temporary work as an option, you accomplish two things: 1) you force yourself to stay motivated and engaged in the process; and 2) you create opportunities to explore roles that you might not have considered otherwise. Another perk is that you will have a steady flow of cash and possibly gain new skills.

3. Manage negativity in a constructive way. It would be very easy to mope and complain about the bad economy.  If you choose to do so, my question to you is: how is that helping you find a job? If you need to vent your frustration, do so in private and for a limited time. You can have scheduled whining sessions, if you like. Letting the anxiety out is important and will help you regain focus. Once you are done venting, get back on the job hunting saddle and keep moving forward.

Even in the most challenging times, one can rise above it all and manage uncertainty in a positive way. By staying focused and engaged in your job search, you will remain psychologically strong and radiate confidence. A confident, optimist candidate will certainly stand out from all others. That could be you!

Anna Giraldo-Kerr is an award-winning writer and career coach who blogs at the Latinos in College website.

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