In finding work, as in all aspects of life, luck plays a role.

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If you’ve been job hunting for any length of time, you undoubtedly understand the importance of compelling cover letters, snazzy resumes, knock-’em-dead interviews, the all-important thank-you note and — of course — networking.

However, if you’ve been pounding the pavement for longer than you would like, you might be starting to suspect that there’s another, less talked-about element to the successful job search.

Like, for instance, luck.

In finding work, as in all aspects of life, luck plays a role. It’s true in fat times; in lean times, it’s that much more important.

But do you believe that people are either naturally lucky or naturally unlucky? Worse, do you believe that if it weren’t for bad luck you wouldn’t have any at all?

If so, here’s some good news: People can learn to be lucky. After all, luck is mainly composed of two qualities: openness and resilience. Lucky people simply are more open to recognizing the variety of opportunities coming their way, and they bounce back better if some opportunities don’t pan out.

Looking for more specific suggestions? Here are 10:

1. Be good at what you do
2. Work hard at what you do
3. Take risks (i.e., try doing what you do differently)
4. Don’t panic if risks don’t work out
5. Look for the lessons learned
6. Be willing to shift directions
7. Be open to the suggestions of others
8. Expect to be lucky (a positive attitude draws people toward you)
9. Be grateful when luck comes
10. When it goes, let it go (a relaxed attitude also draws people toward you)

The most important point is probably number 4. Your job search will involve setbacks. Please don’t let little failures make you feel like a big failure. Remember that lucky people fail more often than unlucky people because they try many things (which then ups their odds of succeeding). In fact, you could put it this way: Failure is an essential part of success.

Good luck!

Karen Burns is the author of The Amazing Adventures of Working Girl: Real-Life Career Advice You Can Actually Use. Email her at