29 Nov Staying Motivated During Your Job Search – Keep Your Light On
Career Search Series – Part 4
The intent of this series of posts is to provide practical tips, and guidance from an HR pro’s perspective. Unemployment and job loss continue to be a pressing issue and we can’t forget the impact it is having on job seekers and the community at large.
Building on the third article in this series that addressed being visible to others when you are seeking work, the final post in this series is about staying motivated during your job search.
Stay Motivated – Keep Your Light On
Being unemployed is stressful, not just because of the loss of income. It’s the ultimate disruption of you at work. The loss of your daily routine, social interaction with colleagues, and feeling like you don’t have a purpose is challenging for anyone. As your search progresses you will at times feel a lack of motivation especially if prospects seem dim at the moment. That’s normal, but it doesn’t have to mean you end up on your couch eating donuts and watching Netflix for days on end.
Looking for a new job can feel exhausting and at times and feel like there will be no end. So how do you stay motivated, especially at the end of the year when other folks are slowing down for the holidays? Here are some of key tips I share with job seekers on staying motivated and not letting their hopes or their light dim.
If you’ve been looking for work for a while, at some point you will become demotivated. This is normal because looking for work is work! When we don’t see immediate results we can lose our focus. Staying focused means creating and relentlessly sticking to a routine and creating small goals each week. The clients that I work with who plan their search activities for each day/week achieve faster results, period. For example:
- 6:00-7:00 am Get up and exercise for 20 minutes or take dog out, eat and shower
- 7:00-10:00 am Check emails for new postings, apply, find networking events, company research
- 10-10:15 am Break
- 10:15 am-noon Follow up with contacts, set up/go to networking events, etc.
Each week, how many calls or coffees do you want to set up? How many contacts do you want to reach out to? What research needs to be completed? Use a planner or software to set small goals and create a routine to achieve them.
Remember to enjoy life! Just because you are unemployed, doesn’t mean that you have to search 8 hours a day, 7 days a week. You are human and in order to be focused, you need to stay balanced. Take time to go for walks, read, play with puppies, volunteer or all of the above! I recommend spending 3-5 hours per day on job search and then 1-2 hours a day doing something you like. The rest of your day can be for family/house chores, etc. Find what relaxes and energizes you and make time daily to do it. It will balance and restore the energy you need for your search.
Looking for work can feel lonely. Find someone you trust and respect that you can check in with every week. I suggest someone in addition to your significant other. It can be a friend, family member, former colleague, church member, etc. Touching base with someone who cares about you and your success will help you stay on track and keep your light bright. They can also give you a different perspective on your search that you haven’t yet considered.
If you weren’t provided career transition support from your former employer, there are many free resources through your local public library and provincial and federal government that can provide support to you as well.
Job loss and job search are more common now than ever. You are not alone. I hope the articles in this series are useful and will help you land your next great job!
Your story is unique and it is worth sharing. Get out there and share it!