How to Stay Motivated During a Long Job Search

Looking for a job is hard work. It’s even harder when you’ve dealt with rejection or radio silence after sending in applications. The good news is: You can renew your motivation with a few simple changes to your search approach. The key is to remember that it’s not just about the job. It’s about you and what you want.

Take a project management approach.

Job searching can become overwhelming. Break it down into a series of goals spread over a realistic time frame.

  • Re-do your to-do list. Rather than listing general tasks like “expand network” and “update resume,” itemize it into smaller, more specific items. For instance, try “reach out to two possible contacts” or “call three people for informational interviews.” These can help you reach your broader goals; in this case, increased networking.
  • Establish milestones. A job search takes about one month for every $15,000 you expect to earn. Accept this reality and plan your strategy accordingly. For instance, set out to secure three interviews within three months, and have six interviews and two callbacks within six months.
  • From a day-to-day standpoint, start out with easier, less time-intensive tasks. This will inspire a sense of accomplishment. Then you can gradually move on to more difficult items. Check each one off as you complete it.
  • Evaluate your progress. Take time once a week to assess how your search is going. Then look for ways to spend more time and energy on tactics that have been effective and less on those that have not shown a good ROI.

Find positive role models.

Search out individuals who have your dream jobs or work for companies that interest you. Find out how they got to where they are today. You may be surprised at what you hear.

  • Career paths are rarely linear. Most successful people make loops, jumps and even backward slides as they realize their ultimate goals. If possible, talk to a few people and ask them to share their experiences, information and advice.
  • Seek constructive criticism. This can come from your role models or close friends and confidants. Ask them to be objective and help you to identify where you’re struggling.

Take care of yourself.

You won’t succeed in anything, including your job search, unless you’re healthy, rested and in the right frame of mind. Be sure to eat well, exercise regularly, get enough rest, and keep stress in check. If physical or emotional challenges are impeding your progress, talk to your doctor.

  • Take time off. When job searching, avoid burnout. You risk losing sight of your main objectives and start looking for jobs just to find one, even if it’s not right for you. Pre-plan days off. Then you can refresh and refocus during your “working days.”

Know how to handle rejection.

The best way to look at rejection is the same way a successful salesperson does. It’s a numbers game where every “no” takes you one step closer to the “yes” that you need.

  • The sales “rule of 20” applies. For every 20 contacts, a salesperson generally gets 15 “nos” and five “maybes” that lead to one sale. In job-speak, this equates to 20 first-round interviews to get five call backs and one offer.

The Ontario career experts at Employment Professionals Canada can partner with you and help you take charge of your job search strategy, starting today. Read our related posts or contact us today to learn more.