Keys to Staying Motivated in a Job Search

Keys to Staying Motivated in a Job Search

It takes work to get work! One of the most difficult things about a job search is doing all the work to get interviews, yet having to deal with the constant rejection. Did you know that less than 1% of job candidates land a job on the very first application they send out in a job search? Even when you find the “dream job”, there are still many reasons why you should not accept a job offer.

All of this is enough to kill your motivation to job search. But you have to do it, so here are some keys to staying motivated in your job search.

1. Be specific with your list of to-do’s

All the advice out there that reads, “Start networking!” or “Update your resume!” is vague and provides no details. When your motivation is lacking, the hardest thing to do is start from a point of “vague advice” to get to “accepting a job offer”. It just does not happen. You have to be specific about what you need to do!

A great way to fix this problem is to start with smaller, more specific tasks. This will help your job search become more manageable. For example, set these goals:

  • Reach out to 5 contacts a day
  • Apply for 5 jobs
  • Find 5 referrals to contact on LinkedIn for each of those 5 jobs

This is easy to do and usually takes one or two hours. The faster you get at doing this, the more you are building up momentum and traction, which will leave you feeling motivated to continue.

2. Research your career role models and their work ethics

There is a quote:

“You are the master of your destiny. You can influence, direct and control your own environment. You can make your life what you want it to be.” - Napoleon Hill

It helps to know exactly how your career role models mastered their own destiny and made their lives what they wanted them to be. If you research exactly “how” they did it, you are learning a method for becoming a success. At the same time, you are getting amazing ideas for your career and staying motivated by the fact that you now know feeling discouraged is only a temporary state of mind. It can be overcome with working harder and smarter.

3. Take a break from job boards and social media (with the exception of LinkedIn)

Job boards can give the false sense of hope and social media often leads to the negative behavior of comparing oneself to others.

Many job boards are simply displaying content that was first posted elsewhere by someone who is on LinkedIn. So, go to the source of the job posting instead of filling out online applications. Other social media tools like Facebook and Instagram are filled with people sharing their accomplishments. Comparing accomplishments rarely leaves a person feeling “motivated”. We are mainly motivated by our own accomplishments.

Taking a break from job boards and social media also frees up your time to do things that are more productive in-person. LinkedIn is still a great tool because recruiters use it and the discussions are largely work-related. You rarely see “brag-adocious” posts on LinkedIn.

3. Seek supportive and constructive criticism

Your supportive friends can also be your most helpful critics. Real friends support each other by not letting them do harm to themselves. So, get some constructive criticism on how you are conducting your job search, your resume, interview preparation, outfits for interviews, and more.  

The former co-worker, professor, friend, or mentor who believes in you will know your full potential and how you could improve. So, ask them for some constructive criticism. And regardless of what they say, never take any of it personally.

Most importantly, do not defend your actions. You asked for criticism, not a debate with people who care about your success.

4. Write your career goals on paper

Now is the best time to write down on paper all the things you see yourself doing in the future and what you want out of your career going forward. List all your dreams, desires, and needs.

Writing it out, not typing it on a computer, forces you to think. Writing out this checklist will leave you feeling motivated because you now have a written statement of exactly what you need and want to do.

When you know what that is...you have a direction. And having a direction can feel extremely motivating. You may even find yourself motivated to research new ideas or directions.

5. Take a break every now and then

A job seeker who is exhausted by a job search goes to job interviews showing the signs of being a veteran job seeker. If you do not take a break to absorb, accept, and reflect, you will go from “exhausted job seeker” to “exhausted interview”. This combination never leads to a job offer.

No company is looking to save anyone from his or her own job search. If you are burned out, it will show on your face and that will affect your ability to get work.

By taking a few days off, you can refocus and better tackle the job search. The job search doesn’t have to be painful and exhausting. It should be motivating and exciting! Never let it burn you out!

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