FingerpaintBeing an adult isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Maybe we’re bitter because tax season just ended, but sometimes it seems like kids have it all figured out. They play all day, make friends as easily as saying hello, and get to eat Lunchables instead of salads. That’s the life, right?

While we can never turn back the clock — and honestly, most of us wouldn’t want to –there are a few things we can learn from kindergarteners. After all, the job search isn’t just about proofreading your resume and filling out online applications. Here are five lessons from the playground that will help your job search.

1. Remember to Share

One of the first lessons we try to teach our children is the importance of sharing. If you have a cool fire truck and your friend Susie asks to play with it, the right answer is yes. As adults, we sometimes forget this essential lesson. The job search in particular can feel like an “every man for himself” situation, but you’ll get a surprising amount of mileage from freely sharing your time and expertise. While you’re looking for work, consider volunteering with a worthwhile cause and offering to help out anywhere that you’re needed. Your generosity will come back to you threefold.

2. Make Friends With Everybody

There are some kids who never meet a stranger. They’re open and friendly with everyone — and they usually grow up to be popular and confident, too. Networking, as you know, is one of the most important things you can do when looking for a job or laying the foundation for a career change. There are many, many articles (and even entire books!) about how to network, but when it comes down to it, it’s not much different today than it was on the playground. Networking starts with saying hello!

3. Take a Nap When You Need One

Most people who are unemployed (or underemployed) would say that the last thing they have time to do is relax. Particularly those jobseekers who don’t have much — or anything — in savings will push themselves to the point of exhaustion trying to find a job. While we’re not saying that you should spend your days watching cartoons on the couch, it is important to take a break every now and then. Check out this post for tips on how to relax and recharge.

4. Tell the Truth

Kids know that lying is bad because they’ll always get caught. Unfortunately, adults forget this from time to time, which is how we end up with scandals like former Yahoo CEO Scott Thompson, who falsified a degree on his resume. In 2012, Thompson was ousted from his position after just four months when the lie was uncovered. HR guru Liz Ryan finds that such behavior is all too common. “It’s foolish to go through the trouble of applying for a job and going on job interviews,” Ryan writes, “just to lose the offer by making up a degree or a past employer to try and make your resume look more impressive.”

5. Be Fearless

When you’re a kid, you believe you can do anything. Most of the time, this means tying a towel around your neck and pretending to be a superhero. As we grow older, that breathless sense of limitless possibility starts to fade, and eventually we become boxed in by what we believe we can’t do. If you’ve already decided that you can’t get the job of your dreams or the salary you want, then your job search will struggle. Let go of your fears and go after what you really want!

Have any other job search tips for our community? Please share them in the comments!

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