Updated: Oct 21
We all know how difficult and stressful finding a job is with the endless cycles of resume submissions resumes and interviews that go nowhere, or the constant rejection emails received that seem to be your only interaction with potential employers. How do you keep going? Read on for ways to help you stay motivated and survive your job hunt.
Keep Your Chin Up and Keep Moving Forward
It's hard to stay positive in the face of one rejection after another but wallowing in self-pity won't help your case. Surviving the job search process requires strong tenacity, motivation, and positive energy. To keep it flying high:
Establish a daily routine. Daily routines have been known to improve confidence and alleviate grief while forcing you to maintain consistency. Your daily routine can be as simple as waking up at the same time each day, spending five minutes a day meditating, exercising for at least 30 minutes, and committing a few hours each morning to search for new job leads and reaching out to your network.
Set daily and weekly measurable goals. Setting small goals for yourself will help you stay motivated in your job search. For example, set a goal to send out one resume a day to a job aligned with your long-term career goals, connect with 1 new person in your profession or industry a week, and schedule appointments with 1-2 recruiters a week.
Record your professional accomplishments. Remind yourself of everything you accomplished in your career. This will be a great way to boost your confidence and maintain your motivation. List major achievements - specific problems you solved, goals you exceeded, or major projects you assisted with. Recall ways you helped make a positive impact to the company, the workplace, and your role. You can (and should) include this information in your resume and LinkedIn profile.
Take a step back. Obsessing about finding a job can quickly lead to stress. Eventually, too much stress over a period of time can cause mental, physical, and emotional exhaustion. Prioritize your job search to find the right position, at the right company, for you. But don't be ashamed to enjoy life. Spend time with family or friends, enjoy the outdoors, or read an inspiring story. Do anything that will help you maintain a positive outlook on your life and your job search.
Change How You Respond to Rejection
Rejection hurts and can damage our self-esteem. Some of the world’s most successful individuals, from Walt Disney to Steve Jobs felt the sting of rejection, but they didn’t let it hold them back. In fact, it made them stronger and more determined.
It's okay to feel the pain of rejection, but dwelling on it can negatively affect your energy, which in turn can affect your job search, forcing you to abandon your goals and seek any job not aligned with your long-term goals. Identify ways you can change how to respond to rejection so that it doesn’t hold you back from finding your dream job.
Put Away Your Pride and Ask for Help.
What's the point of cultivating your connections if you don't utilize them when you need to? Most people find their next opportunities through networking rather than the traditional job searching. According to Jobvite’s 2019 Job Seeker Nation Survey, 50% of respondents learned about new job opportunities from friends while 37% heard about new jobs from their professional networks.
If you’re looking for a job, don't be ashamed to reach out to friends, relatives, professional acquaintances, former colleagues, and LinkedIn connections. Let them know that you're on the market for a new job and ask if they know of anyone or a company in need of someone with your skillset.
If you planning to change directions in your career, reach out to a connection who is in the same profession or industry that you want to be in and request an information meeting to learn how someone with your background can get your foot in the door. I can attest to the benefits of networking, because I've utilized my network during my career transitions.
People are willing to help but you have to leave your comfort zone, put yourself out there, and ask for it.
Whether or not you’re looking for a new job, you should never stop learning new skills and improving your craft. As the job market continuously grows with new people entering the workforce (e.g. recent graduates), employers' needs also change. The position you know now can change 3-5 years from now and require an additional set of skills.
Focus on changing what you can control. Identify any additional skills you should develop to improve your hireability. Review job descriptions to highlight skills heavily presented and look at LinkedIn profiles of people in similar roles and see what skills, certifications, and education they have. Take online courses, update your resume, or revamp your LinkedIn profile to attract recruiters who proactively seek out potential candidates.
Volunteer Your Time...Wisely.
Find a nonprofit organization in need of your knowledge and skills and volunteer a few hours a week. This is a great way to fill the employment gap if you're unemployed while leveraging your skills and expertise to help an organization. When included in your resume, it shows employers that you used your time to continue working in your profession (albeit for free) while making a positive impact in your community. More importantly, it gives you the opportunity to meet and network with new and interesting people.
Trust the Process.
Finding a new job may not happen in the timeframe you want. I’ve had clients who found new jobs within 3 weeks after starting their search while it took others several months to find a fit. Your time will come.
As tough as the job search process is keep your chin up and try some (or all!) of the tips above to help you stay positive and motivated as you make the most of your job search.