Job search motivation is vital for achieving career success

No matter how good the labor market might be, searching for new employment can sometimes be a frustrating process. It's all too easy to lose heart when you're hearing nothing from prospective employers – or just receiving rejection letter after rejection letter. That frustration can pose a real obstacle to your job search motivation.

The good news is that there are things you can do to maintain your job search motivation and press forward in your search for a new job. In this article, we'll explore seven powerful job search strategies that you can use to maintain your motivation.

Why is job search motivation important?

The job search process can easily lead to a loss of motivation if you're not actively working to maintain a positive mindset. It's easy to lose hope when you're struggling to receive any positive feedback from the companies you're contacting. And once negativity begins to take root in your mind, it can be difficult to evict. 

The best thing you can do to avoid that negativity is to implement a positive strategy focused on maintaining your job search motivation.

Staying positive and excited can help you in every area of your job search:

  • You'll be inspired to focus on identifying great opportunities and researching those roles

  • Your energy levels will be higher, increasing your engagement in the resume submission process

  • Increased positivity will help you to stick to your application and follow-up routine

  • As you start to build momentum, you'll enjoy more confidence

  • The more motivated you become, the more you'll impress employers once you start landing interviews

Related reading: Make the Perfect First Impression with Your Resume

Seven job search strategies to improve job motivation

Now that we've established why it's so important to get motivated and maintain an inspired attitude, it's time to explore some great strategies to build that motivation. 

Below, we'll examine seven of the top job search motivation strategies that you can use to build and maintain a positive mindset.

1.     Focus on your goals

It's virtually impossible to maintain your motivation if you have no plan for your career. It's one thing to say that you want a new job; it's quite another to identify the type of job, salary, and career advancement prospects you're looking for. 

Do you have a career trajectory in mind? If not, then start your job search motivation effort by creating those goals.

  • What industry do you want to work in? 

  • What type of role do you eventually want to fill? 

  • Which other jobs can give you the experience and skills you need to reach that larger goal? 

  • What steps do you need to take to embark on that career journey? 

The best goal-setting efforts require planning for every stage of the journey since no one gets from point A to point B without taking things one step at a time.

And make no mistake: setting small, measurable goals will help you stay motivated in your job search even when things aren't moving as quickly as you'd like. You can set daily or weekly goals, but make sure they are specific so you can track your progress. These goals can help you avoid frustration by keeping you on track and helping you feel productive.

For instance, you could create a list of companies you'd like to work for and then make it your goal to research and apply for one new position each day. Or, if you're interested in expanding your network, you could make it a goal to connect with one new person in your industry each week.

Related reading: Top 15 Professional Goals and How to Achieve Them

2.     Get a routine: treat your job search like a job

It's always going to be difficult to maintain motivation if you fail to develop a consistent routine for your job search. One of the best ways to avoid this potential trap is to start thinking of your job search as an actual job. If you can adopt that mindset, you'll have an easier time developing a routine that keeps you moving forward toward your goals.

Instead of haphazardly applying for new jobs, try to organize your job search so that you have daily and weekly tasks to complete. 

For example, 

  • You can pick one or two days to look for new opportunities and research companies and roles.

  • You can set aside designated blocks of time to complete online and offline applications. 

  • Choose a separate time to tailor your resume to fit any desired roles.

The point is to create an organized routine that helps you manage your time, achieve clear goals, and create a constant sense of accomplishment. That steady diet of goal-setting and small achievements can help build your confidence, reduce anxiety, and maintain your overall job search motivation.

3.     Mark your achievements

If you're experiencing job-search frustration or feeling down about your current situation, reminding yourself of all the things you've learned and accomplished in your career can give you a boost of confidence. Start putting together a list of all your major career achievements, from specific problems you solved at work to major projects you assisted with.

As a bonus, having all your professional achievements lined up can also make it easier to include your most impressive work experience on your resume and discuss your career highlights in job interviews.

Also, be sure to track your job search achievements. When you hear from a company or complete a great interview, take time to enjoy those milestone moments – even if they don't contribute to an immediate job offer. 

When you learn to take stock of your accomplishments and treat every step as a learning opportunity rather than a failure, you'll have an easier time maintaining your job search motivation.

Related reading: 47 Accomplishment Examples for Your Resume: Expert Picks

4.     Focus on things you can control and strive for balance

It's also important to stay realistic as you search for a new job. You can't control everything that happens in your life, and it can be counterproductive to try. Instead, you need to focus on the things you can control while giving yourself permission to stop worrying about everything else. 

Work-life balance is an essential ingredient for career success and overall happiness, and it's hard to stay motivated if that balance isn't there.

While it's important to treat your job search like a job, it's just as important to make time for your personal life. Give some priority to rest and relaxation to ensure you maintain the energy levels needed for your job search. Make this part of your regular routine.

  • Get up around the same time every morning and go to bed at a regular hour. 

  • Maintain consistent mealtimes, exercise habits, and social interactions with family and friends. 

  • If you have hobbies, make time for them as well. 

You'll always have an easier time sticking to a routine that creates a balance between your work and personal life.

Related reading: All Work and No Play Makes Life Dull

5.      Identify potential fears and work to overcome them

If you find yourself struggling to stay motivated, chances are that you're dealing with some internal fears that are serving as obstacles to success. Whether it's fear of failure or fear of rejection, you have to name your hidden terror and confront it head-on. 

Fear can cause anxiety, depression, and apathy if you allow it to continue unaddressed. Usually, however, job search fears can be countered with decisive action.

If you believe that fear is holding you back, spend some time considering all the reasons why those fears are probably unwarranted. You may have heard inspirational speakers and writers define fear with the acronym False Evidence Appearing Real – and they're right. 

Most of our common fears – fear of rejection, fear of success, fear of the unknown – are based on stories we repeat to ourselves. All too often, those stories are nothing more than imagined terrors.

  • Identify your fear. 

  • Call it by its name

  • Challenge it to provide evidence of its existence. 

If you're afraid of rejection, challenge that fear to prove it's as inevitable as you imagine it to be. And when it provides no rational response, remind it of all the reasons why you're good enough to deserve acceptance rather than rejection.

In short, counter fear with positive thoughts and watch your motivation grow by leaps and bounds.

6.     Lean on your support system

Another vital key to building and maintaining your job search motivation lies in the strength of your support system. Whether it's family or friends – or some combination of both – relying on a strong network of support can be critical for uplifting your spirits, overcoming obstacles, and continuing to push forward toward your goals. The people in your support network can provide that encouragement and inspiration.

It's also a good idea to let at least a few of those people know that you're actively searching for a job. Sometimes, it's easier to stay on the right track if you make yourself accountable to others. 

For example, when you have someone who knows about your goals and job search routine, that person can help you remain accountable to your plan by checking on your progress from time to time.

7.     Make sure you have the right tools

Of course, one of the best ways to build and maintain your job search motivation is to ensure you're working with the best possible job search tools. You wouldn't try to build a house with a rock, thumbtacks, and tree branches – would you? Well, you shouldn't try to build a career with a shoddy resume, weak cover letter, and a chaotic job search strategy either.

Take time to revisit your resume and other job search tools to ensure they're as professional and compelling as possible. Focus on crafting a well-structured and easy-to-read document that effectively conveys your key skills, job experiences, and measurable achievements to prospective employers. And don't be afraid to seek professional resume assistance to increase the odds that your resume will help you land the interviews you need.

Related reading: 11 Key Things to Put on Your Resume

Never underestimate the importance of job search motivation

Finding a new job can be tough. Finding a great job that aligns with your career goals can be even tougher. To achieve that success, you need to have the type of job search motivation that can empower you to persist in your efforts regardless of the obstacles you encounter. By adopting these motivational strategies, you can help build the motivation you need to meet your goals.

Struggling to maintain your job search motivation? Putting your resume in the hands of a professional resume writer can help you gain the confidence you need. Get your free resume review from our experts today! 

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