6 Ways to Stay Motivated During Your Job Search

Doing a job search isn’t on the top-ten list of fun things to do; I think we can all agree with that.  It can be tough to stay energized when you do it in such a solitary way.  You do things that you get no feedback on, like apply for an online job, and then let’s not forget about not hearing back from a hiring manger when they said they would call.  Yep, a whole series of things that really can beat you down and then keep you there when you don’t see progress towards a new job.  Little wonder why it’s so hard to stay motivated when you’re doing your job search.

For many people, you don’t have a choice about your job search.  You have to find a job and do it as soon as possible.  You’re waiting for motivation to strike you like a bolt of lightning coming out of the sky.  I’m here to tell you to stop looking and start taking action that will help you move forward in your job search.  Here are some things you can do to help yourself make progress, even when you don’t feel like it:

  1. Utilize inertia.  Inertia is the principle that matter will continue to move unless something interferes with it.  That means you, if you take job search action every day, will get the ball rolling and it will become a habit.  You don’t have to love it, but you do have to do it routinely enough that you don’t need any emotional jolt to keep doing it.
  2. Have specific, daily action goals.  One of the biggest issues with job seekers is they simply “do stuff” and they don’t really have something specific to be driving for each day.  There are certain things you must do frequently and consistently that will ultimately yield a job offer.  You need to set goals and then track yourself each day to ensure progress.  They need to include:
    1. How many contacts you make.
    2. How many informational interviews you do.
    3. How many job applications you submit.
    4. How many resumes or applications you send.
    5. How many phone screens you do.

There may be others, but these are the basic things you should have an aim to do every day.

  1. Have office hours.  It makes no difference if you are working or unemployed.  You need to have a defined time to work on your job search.  You’ve heard the adage: Finding a job is like a job.  Then treat it like one.  Make office hours and keep them just like you were working.  If you are working, this is part of what you have to do to manage your time. You may also have to tell family and friends your “office hours” so they don’t intrude on what you’re doing.
  2. Take a break.  Just like with a job, you need to ensure you give yourself time to do other things.  You need to socialize and you need to do things completely different from your job search.  Go to a funny movie or watch some videos.  You can overdue your job search, so it’s good to make sure you have other things going on in your life that give you a boost.  Your job search may not be a source of fun and games, but it also doesn’t mean you can’t still have fun.
  3. Have an accountability partner.  It doesn’t matter if it’s a job search, working out or doing a scrapbook project, we all need someone for support and to keep us accountable to what we’re doing.  We like to think we can do all of this alone.  Maybe you can, but most of us really can’t when it comes right down to it.  Find someone with whom you can check in at least once a week.  This person isn’t there to lecture or punish you, but to keep you honest with yourself.  Ideally, you should hire a career coach, but if you seriously can’t afford that, then find someone who will support you without being a nag.
  4. Look back.  You do need to occasionally look back at your progress; and tracking your goals will help you do that.  When you start seeing traction with all you’ve done, reward yourself.

We have a funny belief about motivation sometimes.  We wait for motivation to strike us, but most of the time it won’t.  These suggestions will also work for other things where you’re having a problem making any headway.  If you’re doing a job search or about to launch one, follow these suggestions.  They can help you to keep moving forward and to feel much better about you.

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