Let’s face it: the global economy is not doing so well. Ever since the recession hit, life has been economically tough for many, many people. Perhaps you’re unemployed. This may be for a variety of reasons, including the economy, strange policies at your former company, or for personal reasons.

But that’s all in the past. It’s time to buck up and try to get back on your feet. Rejoin the rat race! The process to becoming employed won’t be easy. Lots of people are in your shoes, looking for work as well. Even though it’s easy to get discouraged as you move from job application to job application, you should keep your chin up. The workplace that rejected you? It’s not your scene.

Let’s go over some core practices that will help you keep your hopes up on throughout your job hunt.

1.     Don’t overthink the reasons for their not hiring you.

When you get that call telling them that you didn’t get the job—or worse, they never followed up with you at all—don’t let it get to your head. You only waste your time by going over it, and running potential “what if” scenarios. It’s very difficult to understand how a company’s HR department works.

Many factors come into play regarding hiring decisions. They may have disliked you sure, but equally likely are that they hired someone who they deemed more suited for the position, or they hired the president’s nephew twice removed, demoted someone to the position, or removed the position altogether. Agonizing over it won’t do you any good.

2.     Understand that the job hunt requires a lot of patience.

Overcoming unemployment isn’t for the faint of heart. It’s very easy to sink deeper into a lack of productivity as the days go on. Even though unfortunate events may occur, think of it as a way to change your strategy. Refocus your efforts elsewhere—perhaps apply for work in other disciplines. Look for productive ways to occupy your time as you continue your job hunt.

3.     Consider freelancing or starting your own business.

If you have the adequate skills, you can try your hand at freelancing. Sure, it won’t have the benefits that come with regular work, but it’ll be a source of steady income. The work may not even be in your specialized field, which will help in expanding your horizons. If you have rainy day funds, you can also try starting your own business.

Either course will indicate to future employers that you are motivated, and if your business succeeds, then you have achieved self-employment. Companies are also on the lookout for people who possess leadership qualities. Being self-employed or having your own business might be a strong indicator that you are a leader.

4.     Market yourself as a commodity by networking.

If you remain unemployed despite an extended period of job application, it might be because you aren’t putting yourself out there enough. Make the most of services like LinkedIn and even Facebook to showcase your skill set and abilities. Improve and streamline your resume. Dig up old contacts. Call in some favors. People won’t hire you if they don’t know you’re looking for a job.

5.     Keep your mind and body occupied.

Instead of wallowing in your couch all day, get out there and get some–exercise, we mean. It doesn’t take an expensive gym membership to get fit—there are plenty of exercises you can do that take advantage of your own body mass. Read books, watch movies, play video games. Learn a new skill—that’s another thing to put on your resume.

BONUS: Preparing for another shot at employment

That said, you also have to be prepared when they do call you back in for an interview. Here’s how to deal with that stressful situation.

1.     Don’t lose your head.

Keep calm and collected during the interview, and show that you’ve prepared yourself well for the job. Show that you know about the company, and the work that they do, and how you can contribute to this environment.

A way to circumvent tricky questions is by giving examples and anecdotes. Confidence and commitment are good signs that an interviewer is looking for, so make sure you act the part, even if you’re nervous

2.     Avoid saying certain things.

There are certain taboos during interviews, and one of them is cursing. Sure, you could argue that cursing is part of your personality, but in civil society, first impressions matter.

Try to not say negative things about your last job or your former employer, as well—it’ll show you negatively instead. They are your prospective employer, after all, and they don’t want you badmouthing them after you leave.

The subject of salary is touchy as well—of course you need to know it, but don’t go in guns blazing asking how much you’ll get paid. Leave that for the end, when the interviewer asks you if you have any questions.

Unemployment is an ordeal that many of us go through, and it isn’t a pleasant experience for most. Hopefully, these tips will let you keep your head held high. Are there other ways you deal with the stresses of unemployment? Let us know in the comments below!