How to stay motivated during your job search

Organisational Change
Paul Slezak

Looking for a job can take its toll

Searching for suitable roles, cold calling, writing endless cover letters… and nothing is more disheartening than the deafening silence that can follow an application. So how can you stay motivated?

It’s important to remember that with so many factors at play when you apply for a job, a rejection is not necessarily a reflection of your abilities (or lack thereof). Here are six ways to keep a positive outlook while looking for employment.

Keep a routine

If you’re unemployed and searching for work, it’s crucial to set a daily routine. Giving yourself goals and tasks each day will give you a sense of purpose and accomplishment. Make sure you get out of bed at a similar time each morning, have a shower and get dressed for the day. Sleeping in, spending the day in your pyjamas and frittering the time away are anathema to the motivated job seeker.

Treat yourself

Your self-esteem can take a hit when the job hunt isn’t going the way you planned – so it’s important to be kind to yourself, even in small ways. Remember that an application rejection doesn’t mean you aren’t a worthy candidate.  Instead of beating yourself up and letting it dampen your enthusiasm, treat yourself to a bit of ‘you’ time. If you’re on a budget, you can still treat yourself to a DIY pamper session at home, take a walk in the sunshine or take time out to have coffee with a friend.

Make a budget

Financial uncertainty while searching for work can add a lot of stress and negatively impact your mindset. Creating a budget and sticking to it will give you a sense of control as well as realistic parameters, and will help alleviate some of that stress. Don’t view your budget as a burden – rather, it will give you the breathing room to find the right opportunity and ensure you don’t burn through your funds prematurely.

Join job search groups

The online community is a great way to find out where the work is and how to get it. It’s also a chance to chat to like-minded people and realise you’re not the only person who may be struggling. Professional networking sites such as LinkedIn will match your listed skills to available jobs and make related suggestions – and that will save you time. By joining specific groups, you’ll also be placed in front of recruiters looking for someone just like you, and seeing those recruiters viewing your page will help motivate you to keep going.

Contact a recruiter

Tackling the job hunt solo can unnecessarily heighten your stress levels, not to mention you may be missing out on opportunities. Recruiters are human resource professionals who not only help you search for appropriate roles but pre-interview and advocate for you in the application process. They can also provide you with candid and constructive feedback, giving you the support you need to stay driven and focused.

Volunteer your time

Just because you’re not getting paid doesn’t mean you can’t volunteer your time for the greater good. There are many philanthropic causes just waiting for your enthusiasm and expertise, and the additional experience will only strengthen your CV. Internships are another way to get experience and add to your skillset and will provide valuable networking opportunities. Any work experience can give you the opportunity to keep exercising your skills, and being part of a team can help keep your spirits up.