16 ways to remain motivated during your job search

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Motivation is the foundation of a successful job search. Our level of motivation has a remarkable impact on how we carry out each and every action within the job search.

One way to increase your level of motivation is to write down your job-search goals. Research has shown that writing down goals makes them more achievable. Tracking your goals as you work to attain them leads to feelings of self-respect, strength and confidence. Few people are able to continue a pattern of achievement and success without the added encouragement provided by others recognizing those achievements. That is why a support network of family, friends, career counselors, etc. is essential to maintaining momentum in the job-search process.

However, continued defeat and frustration can result in feelings of inadequacy and a withdrawal from competitive situations, which may harm a person’s chances of successfully meeting her employment goals. Now we can understand why the job-search process can challenge even the most motivated job seeker. Rejection from employers or the inability to find work can have a serious effect on a job seeker’s likelihood of remaining interested and motivated.

In order to gain clarity on how to increase motivation throughout the job search, I asked friends, family and acquaintances who have experienced unemployment about the techniques they used to remain motivated throughout the search. Below, I have included a list of practices they found to be helpful:

  1. Set reachable goals for yourself. This will help motivate you and help you track small ongoing successes throughout your search. Celebrate achieved successes, for they contribute to the overall goal.
  2. Give yourself a work schedule. Treat your job search as though it’s an actual job.
  3. Avoid “glass-is-half-empty” people. Minimize your exposure to them as much as possible. Instead, hang out with people who make you feel good about yourself. Seek out friends and family who respect you, who like you for who you are and who are positive and optimistic.
  4. Energize yourself through hobbies or sports. These can be activities you already love or something new and exciting.
  5. Try new job-search techniques. Go for an informational interview or refresh your résumé. A different approach may breathe new life into your search.
  6. Rely on friends for help. Ask a friend to be your “negativity cop.” He will let you know when you’re projecting negativity. Also, try socializing with employed friends. It’s a reminder that jobs do exist. Plus, these people are the most likely to know about available positions and upcoming openings.
  7. Expand your network every day. The growth of your professional network is a better way to measure progress than how many interviews you have each week.
  8. Find someone to report your progress to. This can be a friend or mentor. If you have a mentor, get a second one. You can have as many as you want or need. Mentors offer perspective, advice and encouragement. They are also someone you can report your progress to. You’ll be more likely to keep on task if you are accountable to someone.
  9. Get some exercise and eat well. Exercise produces endorphins and can help eliminate frustrations. Prepare meals from scratch. It’s not only better for you, but it’s much cheaper too.
  10. Set a challenging goal. Whether it’s to run a marathon or clean out a room in your home, a challenge successfully met boosts your mood. You will project more confidence as a result.
  11. Learn something new. It can be related to your work or something for fun. Learning new things expands your brain and brightens your outlook.
  12. Read biographies of successful people. It can help you realize that every successful person encountered failures and obstacles along the way.
  13. Join a job-search group. It’s a reason to get out of the house and a venue to vent (positively). You may even get some great feedback on your presentation, résumé, cover letter, etc.
  14. Help others. Volunteering is always an amazing contributing effort. You might make some great new contacts along the way.
  15. Take a break. Designate one day a week when you won’t think about your job search. Clear your head. Re-energize.
  16. Find a space to work. Designate an area of your home as your office space. This is where you’ll conduct your job search.
4 Comments
  1. A great list. The suggestion to have an office where you work is very important. I would add, if it is at all possible, to have the “office” outside of the home. In my case, I have access to the university wellness center near home so I go there early, work out and then spend three – four hours “working” on my job search. They have free wifi, tables, chairs and coffee. A great environment.

    Also, I found it very useful to go through an outplacement program provided by Lee Hecht Harrison. Although not everyone may be as fortunate, there are books that will give the basics of how to organize and succeed in a job search that help the searchers put structure on their effort, if they need it.

    One last suggestion is to contact the college or university where you got your degree. In my case, they provide free career transition counseling.

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