6 Ways to Stay Motivated When the Job Search Gets Tough
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This Week’s Question: The job search can be terribly demotivating. After months and months of firing off resumes and maybe even landing some interviews without a single offer in sight, you may start to feel like you’re getting nowhere. How do you stay motivated when it starts to seem like maybe you should give up entirely?
1. Build a Strong Foundation
Searching for a job can really hurt your ego, your self-image, and your professional confidence. There aren’t a lot of ways to make that process easier on yourself other than focusing on your professional accomplishments and your personal wins and surrounding yourself with positive and supportive people. It’s important to build a strong foundation for yourself to see you through the difficulty of a job search.
— Christine Santacroce, Recruiter.com
2. Attend to Your Well-Being
To keep people motivated, I get them to attend to the other important areas of their lives that build their subjective well-being (or happiness), using [Martin] Seligman’s PERMA model:
P = Positive emotions – Having fun and doing things that make you feel good.
E = Engagement – Identifying and doing things that use your skills and
R = Relationships – Making sure you are surrounded by positive people who support you and whom you support.
M = Meaning – Doing things that contribute to the bigger world.
A = Achievement – Find things, even small things, that give you a sense of achievement to counteract the lack of achievement you may be feeling in the job hunt.
— Katherine Street, People Flourishing
3. Do Something New
Find something new to do that has nothing to do with your job search. Mastering something new will give you a sense of competency and control and boost your sense of self-esteem — both of which are often lost during a job search. This will also give you something to talk about other than your job search, which will make you more interesting to your friends, family, and potential employers.
In my case, I did pro bono consulting for the Taproot Foundation, which led to a job with Taproot, which led to other nonprofit work, and ultimately to my current role as a consultant to nonprofits and social enterprises.
— Lisa Gaffney, MarketMatters Group, LLC
4. Establish — and Stick to — a Routine
Step out of your bed early in the morning, as if you were going to work, and make the day constructive. Do not fall into the deep dungeons of sleeping till late and getting depressed that nothing is happening. There will be days when you might not even feel like getting out of the bed — but you have to do it.
— Suchismita Roy, PR Professional and Writer
5. Focus on the Small Steps
It is important to shift your goals to the immediate tasks at hand. Instead of the immediate goal being ‘finding a job,’ the goals should center around getting through to specific HR individuals, setting up interviews, and meeting with your network. Put the energy into following up and staying in touch with recruiters, HR managers, and the people who may have received your resume or who have interviewed you.
If you make the small, individual steps your goals and focus on completing the small tasks, you will find motivation in the success of reaching those goals. This way, your success and motivation do not hinge on a binary outcome of ‘job/no job.’ Success will come in the form of these micro goals being reached. Ultimately, the byproduct of achieving these small goals will be finding a job.
— George Gilpatrick, Cahill Swift, LLC
6. Take Your Own Advice
Ask yourself what you would tell your best friend if they were in the same situation — and then take your own advice! Often we can see things more clearly when we give advice to others.
— Lori Scherwin, Strategize That
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