How to maintain your motivation during a job search


Let’s be honest — job searching can be very difficult. And even for the strongest of us, it can get to you — I know, I’ve been there.

The job search is a process that takes time and effort. It is easy to get discouraged and want to quit. But the key to any job search is to remain persistent and do the hard work so you can reap the rewards of your labor later. I’d like to provide you with a few ideas on ways to stay motivated during the job search process.

The first thing you have to remember is that this is only a temporary situation. You are not going to be unemployed forever. The frustration and worry will end. Take a moment to breathe, because when you “inhale confidence, you exhale doubt.” Even though it may feel like it is taking forever to get that next job, if you persevere, you will eventually find exactly what you’re looking for, if not something better.

The second thing you need to do is learn to accept rejection. One of the hardest things to accept when you start a job search is getting rejected for a position you knew you were a great fit for. Don’t dwell on the negative. If you have a chance to ask for constructive feedback, do so. Take the advice and move on to the next opportunity.

The third thing I’d like for you to know is that you are not alone. It’s easy to forget that others are out there experiencing the same thing that you are. Join a job-seeker group, connect with people on LinkedIn, visit your nearest college and speak with a career counselor there. Communicate with people who can be a valuable resource in your job search and offer you the moral support you need. Who knows? Your next employer may just be a conversation away.

The fourth thing you may want to consider is spending less time applying for jobs online and more time networking. Work smart — and not hard. While you do need to spend some time applying for jobs online, I think your time will be better spent networking to find those jobs that are not yet advertised online. The online application process is becoming a numbers game — job seekers will apply to literally hundreds of jobs and hear back from maybe a few. By networking and reaching out to hiring managers at companies you may really want to work for, you are putting yourself in a position to inquire about open jobs that may not have been posted yet, plus you lessen the competition for those openings and you now have a contact on the inside who may be able to assist in getting you an interview later. Now you’re working smarter.

And lastly, don’t allow this situation to consume you. While it is important to work hard, everyone needs a break every now and then. Yes, you’re unemployed and money has become tight. But when you are tired and burned out, you never do as well at anything, including job searching. Hiring managers and recruiters can tell when a person is deflated, which could hurt your chances at getting the job. Take time out for yourself. Spend time with family and friends who will lift your spirits. And when you do, you will come back to the job search with a much more positive attitude and clearer thinking.

Hopefully, these tips will help you remain motivated and give you the confidence you need to continue on with your job search. And before you know it, you have found that great job that you’ve been working so hard for. Now you can share how you did it with other job seekers. What a great thing to have the opportunity to do!

Mary Parker is the career center coordinator at Central Carolina Community College and a global certified career development facilitator. Send comments or column ideas to her at


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