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How to Stay Motivated During a Job Search

Follow these 5 tips...

by Janna Kefalas in Job Search, Networking

When you’re looking for a job, especially for a long time, it feels like there’s an amorphous weight hanging on your shoulders. It’s hard to keep moving forward when you really just want to lie down and yell “uncle”!

So here are 5 tips to help you continue to fight the good fight:

Motivation Tip #1 – Know This is a Temporary Situation

When you’re doing what seems like an endless job search, you might start thinking — am I EVER going to actually find a job??

What starts out as a finite endeavor begins to feel more like a permanent state of affairs.

Sometimes it helps just to accept that, during this time period, things will be quite un-fun, filled with frustration and rejection. No two ways about it.

But then…guess what…it’ll end! And you’ll be in a much better place. So hang in there and repeat, “this too shall pass.”

Motivation Tip #2 – Search SMARTER (Not Harder)

It’s easy to fall into a trap of making a job search a numbers game.

Number of hours dedicated per week, number of resumes sent, number of networking messages composed.

You might think, “I’ve been working so hard at this. Look at the volume!” But when the results don’t add up, it’s easy to get discouraged.

When I first start working with clients who’ve been job searching for a long time, their confidence has flagged, and they’ve resorted to applying for roles they’re WAY overqualified for…or just plain not right for.

Recruiters and hiring managers instantly see a mismatch between their qualifications and the requirements of the position — and disregard these applicants. And that’s why they’re not hearing back.

So instead of logging long hours throwing spaghetti on the wall, get strategic and only target positions that are in alignment with your skills and experience.

Motivation Tip #3 – Uplevel Your Network

Dovetailing on the last point, it’s common to think that the jobs you see posted online are the only opportunities that exist.

But up to 50% of jobs are part of the hidden job market and are only known to employees at the company. Sometimes these positions will eventually be posted, but companies are first encouraging referrals.

That’s why expanding your network and building relationships with employees at companies you’re interested in can be so powerful. These employees can refer you to opportunities just before or just as they become official.

LinkedIn is an excellent tool for connecting with colleagues, friends and family — and requesting introductions to people at your target companies, if possible.

Motivation Tip #4 – Seek Community

Plodding through an extended job search can feel super isolating. It’s easy to forget that others in the same boat are experiencing the same highs and lows you are.

So seeking a community of job seekers can help ease those discouraging feelings. You may have luck finding Facebook, LinkedIn or local Meetup groups that are geared toward people on a job hunt.

Aside from moral support, fellow job seekers can serve as a valuable resource. They can give you the lowdown on what’s worked and not worked in their search. They may also have connections at certain companies or a lead they can share.

Motivation Tip #5 – Find Balance in Your Life

While it’s ideal to keep up steady efforts, you definitely don’t need to be jobsearching all day every day. (See Tip #2.) Striking the right balance between work and play is key.

So if you’re not currently working, take periodic breaks from your job search and pick up a hobby, spend time with friends you don’t normally see, or do some local volunteering.

And if you’re looking for a job while working full-time, finding free time can be challenging, I know. But it’s critical to take time for yourself and recharge. (I’m giving you permission!)

Summing it Up

Hopefully these 5 tips will help you keep your spirits up and breathe a little new life into your job search.

Before you know it you’ll be starting that new stellar job…AND awaiting your first vacation. (Isn’t that how it always goes??)