Looking for a job can take its toll. Little is more disheartening than hearing crickets after applying to suitable roles, cold calling, writing endless cover letters. So how can you stay motivated when searching for a job?
With so many factors at play in finding a job match, a rejection is not necessarily a reflection of your abilities (or lack thereof). Here are six ways to stay positive while looking for employment.
Create a routine of accomplishment
If you’re unemployed and searching for work, setting a daily routine that makes you feel good is critical. Creating goals and tasks each day will give you a sense of purpose and accomplishment. Get out of bed at a similar time each morning, shower and get dressed for the day. Set a meeting with a colleague, industry friend, recruiter or a fellow job seeker. Sleeping in and surfing the web in your PJs are kryptonite to motivation.
Your self-esteem can take a hit when the job hunt isn’t going the way you planned – so it’s important to be kind to yourself, even in small ways. Remember that an application rejection doesn’t mean you aren’t a worthy candidate. Instead of beating yourself up and letting it dampen your enthusiasm, treat yourself to a bit of “self” time. If you’re on a budget, you can still treat yourself to a DIY pamper session at home, take a walk in the sunshine or have coffee with a friend.
Keep a budget
Financial uncertainty can add a lot of stress and negatively impact your mindset while searching for work. Creating a budget and sticking to it will give you a sense of control as well as realistic parameters, which will help alleviate some of that stress. Don’t view a budget as a burden – rather, it will give you the breathing room to find the right opportunity and ensure you don’t burn through your funds prematurely.
Build your community
The online community is a great way to find out where the work is and how to get it. It’s also a chance to chat with like-minded people and realize you’re not the only person who may be struggling. When people are treated as partners working together with others – even when physically apart – they persist 48-64% longer on challenging tasks, according to Stanford research. In this environment, people also chose to do 53% more related tasks in the same setting one to two weeks later. In short: their motivation increases.
By joining specific groups on professional networking sites such as LinkedIn, you’ll also be placed in front of recruiters looking for someone just like you, and seeing those recruiters viewing your page will help motivate you to keep going.
Tackling the job hunt solo can unnecessarily heighten your stress levels, not to mention you may be missing out on opportunities. Recruiters not only help you search for appropriate roles but pre-interview and advocate for you in the application process. They can also provide you with candid and constructive feedback, giving you the support you need to stay driven and focused.
Just because you’re not getting paid doesn’t mean you can’t use your time for the greater good. There are many philanthropic causes just waiting for your enthusiasm and expertise, and the additional experience will only strengthen your resume.
Internships are another way to get experience and add to your skillset and will provide valuable networking opportunities. Any team experience can give you the opportunity to expand your network of like-minded individuals while continuing to exercise your skills and keep your spirits up.
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Parker, Clifton B., “Stanford research shows that working together boosts motivation,” Stanford Report, September 15, 2014, http://news.stanford.edu/news/2014/september/motivation-walton-carr-091514.html