Staying Motivated During Your Job Search

By Joe Stein

It may seem like there is an obvious reason to stay motivated during a job search…your need for employment. While that certainly can be/is a great motivator, the reality is that looking for a job search can be hard work. Without question there are times when the rigors of looking for employment can negatively impact even the most motivated individuals.
 
The focus today, is on how you can improve your outlook and maintain your motivation. This is a key, because being down will not only impact your ability to generate leads and interviews, but will also be very apparent to any Recruiter/Hiring Manager that you meet. 
 
So, let’s take a moment to review some simple tips you can consider, that will help you maintain your motivation and positive outlook.
 
·         Get/Stay Organized – Non-organized clutter not only creates stress, but also reduces efficiencies. If you are disorganized, you will take valuable time searching for items that should be at your finger tips. Create a system (you determine what works for you) and stick to it! The key will be to have some mechanism that will track what you have applied for, what you have researched, and what you have on your schedule. For example, you can purchase a relatively inexpensive plastic carrying case along with some folders to quickly and cheaply create a system that will help you stay organized. You may also find that organizing yourself provides you with an important sense of accomplishment.
 
·         Work a Schedule – Most of us work some sort of schedule (generally determined by others) and this focuses us on being productive during that time. When you are job searching, you are entirely on your own. This lack of structure can sometimes create a lack of focus, therefore impacting your ability to stay motivated. Give yourself a reason to wake up early in the morning by scheduling yourself for some activity. Make sure you build in scheduled breaks that will allow you some time to regenerate your mind/body. You can go as far as blocking your time: devoting a set time for online job searching, a block for interviewing, and another for general networking.
 
·         Develop a Support System – This can be family, friends, or a networking group made up of those in a similar situation. This support system will help you during times when you need your spirits boosted or items placed in perspective. For example, what do you do when you receive a particularly difficult rejection letter/call? It could be most helpful to have a person to reach out to, that will help you work through the situation and quickly refocus yourself. Networking may cause you to reconnect yourself to people that you have drifted away from, causing you to feel good about yourself. A support system can also make sure that you are not burning yourself out in your job search. While you will want to devote the proper time and effort into your search, you will need time away to regenerate your mind and body. Your support system can help you on that mission.
·         Get/Stay Healthy - Use your job search as an opportunity to get in the shape you desire. If you are already at your optimal health spot, then this is the time to maintain that condition. Try to take time each day to exercise. It will provide a nice break from your job search, while generating a nice energy boost for you. Along that idea, nutrition becomes an important topic. It may be very tempting to snack all day as you are plugging along with your job search. Be conscious of maintaining your regular meal schedule, to avoid an unwanted weight gain that will impact your energy level or self-perception.
 
·        Set Goals – At work, we know that we must get certain things done each day/week/month. Setting goals and sticking to them will create that same motivation to drive towards completion. Your goals may be visiting “x” number of employer websites, or doing “y” number of networking calls.
 
·        Learn Something New – For many of us, learning something new provides renewed motivation. Try to learn something new each day, whether it is a new topic, a new tip, or to begin to work towards a new skill (such as a computer program). You may just do something as simple as read a book on a topic you are unfamiliar with at the moment.
 
·        Stay Busy At Home – Feel free to tackle some of those home “to do” projects that you have never been able to get to. Take a break and mow the lawn, do some gardening, or clean the garage. The time away from your job search and the sense of accomplishment should prove motivating. What you do want to caution yourself against is assuming projects that will consume you, therefore negatively impacting your ability to job search.
 
·        Volunteer – There are numerous not-for-profits that could use your assistance. You will probably find the time very rewarding and motivating, while giving back to the community. The time spent will also have another positive impact…it looks good on the resume.
 
·        Celebrate Your Accomplishments – Don’t forget to pat yourself on the back when you have success. Whether it is due to finding a new lead, or landing that big interview; don’t forget to celebrate. You may even want to reward yourself with some additional “free time”, or something else that will bring a smile to your face.
 
The goal of the tips above is to assist you in staying positive and focused in your job search and overall life. This driven, “can do” attitude will assist you immensely in your attempt to find employment. You should find that it provides you with a competitive advantage over your competition.