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The Job-Search Olympics: Staying Motivated

Suggestions for staying motivated especially during a long-term search

So you’re in the job market.  For whatever reason – downsizing, layoff, or your own pursuit of greener pastures – you are searching for an opportunity that is  aligned with your career direction.  You have determined your value and you’re ready to provide the results a potential employer desires.   Even so,  getting into that target organization or landing an interview can take weeks or months as employers try to manage their open positions with an unprecedented demand of candidates.  The waiting can be a challenge, but there are some things you can do to stay motivated if your search lasts longer than you’d hoped. 

Here are some suggestions:

  1. Know from the beginning that you must stay connected with people: certainly your family and also friends, accountability partners, others in job-search groups, career coaches, etc. For many people losing a job is losing their identity…and that can be crushing if you try to go it alone. It’s not a sign of weakness to talk with others and it’s not an embarrassment to be looking for work: we just let our self-talk convince us otherwise…another good reason to stay connected with others who are more objective about the work that needs to be done.
  2. Keep up physical health and well-being. Make time every day for any activity that gets you out into the sun and fresh air. If you have a fitness routine, make sure you continue it or even step it up. The hormones produced from physical activity are known to be positive and keep you upbeat. Finding a partner or partners to meet will help you stay on track.
  3. Ensure that you’re eating a healthy diet and hydrating well. Emotional eating can easily take over and create a downward spiral adding to any lack of motivation.
  4. Check out all job-hunting resources in your community. Many are free or low cost, and you are worth the investment to keep your search as short as possible. As long as you are buoyed up by attending these resources, keep them on your schedule. If any of them become depressing or negative, run—don’t walk—to the door!
  5. If you’re willing to invest in yourself (yes, I know resources are tight), one of your best decisions is to hire a career coach. You will learn or review critical information and skills for searches in today’s challenging employment markets, but more importantly you will have accountability to keep up your “A game” as you look for a position. Given the competition in the market and the selectivity of employers, you can’t afford to take anything except your “A game” to every connection opportunity or interview. Additionally, a qualified career coach can help you examine your job/career beliefs and assumptions to ensure that they are aligned with the reality of today’s market. Outdated career assumptions often sabotage you in huge ways that you may not recognize…and a career coach can help you examine them.
  6. Practice gratitude every day. Keep a small notebook next to your bed and write in it each evening before you fall asleep: list 3 to 5 things you are grateful for that day. Focusing on the good in your life is a reminder that has been proven to be a mental and emotional boost. You can also carry a 3x5 card, writing on it during the day as you find yourself getting down or negative about your search.