Motivation for Job Seekers
Updated: Feb 17
by Barbara Gough CCTC
Job seekers often find it difficult to stay motivated. One of the main reasons that people lose motivation in the job search is because they become overwhelmed. This overwhelmed feeling tends to cause a “freezing” -- a state of mind that makes it difficult to move forward.
To avoid this, it’s important to approach your job search step by step. It may sound counter-productive, but try not to think about the big picture and everything on your “to do” list. Instead, break your job search down into small goals. For example, don’t think about how you need to rewrite your resume, find jobs to apply to, fix your LinkedIn profile, network, etc… Instead choose one of these goals and then divide that into mini-goals. When you set smaller goals that you know you can accomplish, it creates a positive attitude toward your search.
Are you excited about looking for a job? If not, it’s going to be difficult to motivate yourself and even harder to stay motivated. If your job search feels laborious and tiresome then it’s important to find something that excites you. Focus on what interests you and the aspects of a new position that appeal to you.
Another critical aspect of motivation is knowing what you want. Often people who are indecisive about their career direction lack the necessary motivation to drive a successful job search. It’s difficult to feel excited if you are uncertain about your goals. A lack of inspiration typically leads to a lack of motivation, which leads to a lack of action which leads to a job search where not much happens. Search for clarity by trying new things, talking to different people, taking career tests, conducting informational interviews and/or working with a career coach.
Pay attention to how you feel physically. Are you depressed? Tired? Out of shape? All of these feelings can affect how we feel and consequently, our motivation. Make sure that you stay active. When you exercise, your body releases dopamine and endorphins into your brain, two chemicals that make you feel happy. Being active will give you more energy during the day and help you sleep better at night which also will improve brain function.
For many, the job search can feel extremely lonely. If that’s the case, consider finding a career coach or a friend who is also looking for a job. The two of you can work together to set mutual goals and deadlines. Being accountable to someone besides yourself can make a big difference. Surround yourself with positive people. This is not the time for negativity which can quickly squash motivation. Find individuals who support you and provide you with energy.
Set clear, small goals with deadlines. Create a job search calendar and mark off specific times during each day that you will work on your search. Use Excel to track resumes sent out, contacts at positions that interest you and future networking opportunities. Determine how much time you will spend job hunting each week. Then, enjoy the additional time that you have off -- guilt free!
Barbara Gough CCTC
Career Coach, Leadership and Entrepreneur Consultant