How to stay motivated in your job search

How to stay motivated in your job search

If you’re searching for a new job right now, it can be a tough road no matter who you are and what level of role you’re looking for. A job search can be the beginning of a new wonderful path, but with so much uncertainty it can often feel anything but.

Dealing with the transition phase

The period between letting something go and starting something new is the liminal phase or transition period. Whether it’s job search, moving house, end of a relationship or change of lifestyle, this liminal phase can feel disorientating, uncertain and sometimes very uncomfortable.  It’s in this phase we can easily make knee-jerk decisions to get rid of the discomfort, or worse give into panic.

During this transition period it’s so important to find ways to:

  • stay focused and motivated,
  • to keep a sense of movement and progress, and
  • get feedback from trusted sources.

There are long term elements such as industry profile, network and market conditions that can fast track your job search, but largely, there is no magic formula that will make job search faster or easier. There is no getting away from having the conversations, doing the research, tailoring your applications and showing up as the most employable version of yourself. 

Cycles of Motivation

To show up as the best version of you during the job search you need to be able to make a plan, action that plan and sustain yourself. To make this happen you need motivation, but where to you get it and how to you maintain it?

Motivation is not constant and roughly occurs in cycles across three rough stages.

The first stage of the cycle is Drive, which is the feeling or need that spurs us into action. Next is the Exploratory behaviour which allows us to explore opportunities and do the activity required and then the third stage is Relief. Drive may be needing an income to pay the bills. Exploratory is actioning the plan and to do this we need to sustain ourselves and maybe find ways to incentivise our efforts. The ultimate relief will be when we find the next job, but there may be small periods of relief along the way, like securing the job interview or submitting the application. The need or drive for an income will build up again and then the cycle starts again.

Steps to stay motivated

Once you’re clear on why need another job, then you can take steps to stay motivated during your job search:

  1. Make your job search your part time job and schedule projects or things you enjoy doing for the other half of the day. Start with 1 hour blocks of activity followed by a short break. Get a coffee, sit in the sun, go for a walk, read a book, whatever will recharge to then go back for the next block.
  2. Schedule networking or follow up tasks for your week and then review each day. When you’ve completed your tasks, close the computer and knock off for the day.
  3. Find a mentor, confidante or career coach that you can talk through your applications and how you’re feeling and talk through situations.
  4. Schedule networking meetings, video or phone calls in your diary for the week or two ahead. If one path ends, you have other avenues to pursue.
  5. Look after your physical health. Get quality sleep, exercise and eat well. Your health will impact your mindset and the energy you have to invest in your job search. If you’re burnt out you won’t be able to sustain the search.
  6. Keep your daily routine. It will provide structure and sense of achievement each day, not to mention supporting your circadian rhythms.
  7. Schedule time with family, friends and community to ensure you feel connected.

Stay focused and keep taking steps

It is frustrating if you don’t get feedback from your application or turned down for a job you thought you were a perfect fit, but remember that even when you tailor your applications, there are many factors within the recruitment process that are outside your control. Stay focused on what you can control and keep taking steps to move forward. The job search is like dating, you only need one to make it work.

Andrea has spent over 25 years working with organisations, leaders and employees at every stage of a business and career life cycle. She has created positive impact for organisations through her work with executives, leadership teams, and diverse functional teams within the arts, education, government and media organisations as examples. With over 15 years experience within career development and coaching, her direct knowledge of individuals fears and challenges and insights across a broad spectrum of sectors and organisations, creates a unique understanding of what employees need to thrive.