Title Card - Staying Motivated

Staying Motivated While On The Job Hunt

The job hunt is never an easy task, especially when there are months-long stretches where you have no leads and everything you’re get comes in the form of a rejection letter. It’s tiring to constantly feel like you’re not wanted despite your best efforts, and unfortunately, there will be occasions where this will happen.

In my experience during the COVID-19 pandemic, this was largely what happened to me between March and September, when applications were flooding into every job board and company site, filling them up with eager applicants looking for work to feed their families. Thousands of people were laid off, and the job market was so full of people hungry for work, that it felt like my voice was only a whisper in a mob. I had to develop strategies to ensure I didn’t lose focus and maintained motivation to keep applying and keep trying. Here are a few of my best tips for staying motivated on the job hunt.

1. Reduce the likelihood that you burn out by turning your job hunt into a routine

It’s understandable that you are desperate for work, and you’re putting everything that you have into every application that you’re putting out. Day in and day out, you’re cramming as many applications into the day as you possibly can, and by the time you go to bed, you’re so tired that you don’t even want to touch the computer again the next day. You take the day off of job hunts, feel guilty and panicked because you still don’t have a job, and the next day you’re forcing yourself to do more applications, potentially of lesser quality, and the cycle continues until the only applications you’re putting out are quick, substandard ones to the type you’re used to producing.

One good way to prevent this type of burnout is to set a quota for yourself where you aim to send out a certain number of applications in a day. Make sure your number is realistic, and commit yourself to putting out that number of quality applications every day. The most important step of this strategy is to STOP. If you have reached your application quota for the day, don’t do any more, take the opportunity to do something else. This will ensure that you don’t burn out by pushing yourself to do more and more applications in a day, and will allow you to keep putting out quality applications every single day.

Be sure to keep in mind, it’s okay if you want to do one less application on any given day, or maybe you feel like you’re on a roll and you do one extra one on a different day. So long as you are generally sticking to your routine, you are completely okay.

2. Take the opportunity to improve yourself and your skills

Although your primary focus might be on finding a job, it shouldn’t be the only thing that you’re doing. While you’re completing applications, you should also be doing other things to make you seem more marketable to the people you’re wanting to notice you. One of the things I ended up doing was taking online courses while I was out of work, learning new skills and ideas to put onto my resume to make me seem more desirable as a writer. I looked at the job postings and saw some of the items that I didn’t have, and looked for ways to gain those skills.

One of the other ways that you can improve how you look to employers is by volunteering your work to others so that you can build a portfolio. By showing that you took the initiative to do some work in your field, it could potentially start closing the experience gap that can be found in most job posters.

Doing work for yourself is another great way to gain that experience. In my case as a writer, I could opt into writing essays or articles for publications I would love to be featured in and send them off for review. The good news in that case is that even if you get rejected, you still have a portfolio piece that you can use to help show off your writing talent to other agencies. If you do get published, it’s just a bonus! This can be applied to many industries, and can help to keep you motivated to make your resume look better and better the more you learn.

3. Reach out and make connections

It is always a good idea to talk to people about their experiences and see what they can do to help you in your quest for success. People who are already in the type of job you are looking for are some of the best people to talk to, as they have already found success in the field you are trying to enter. See what they did to get there, and if there is anything you can do to mimic their success. As the old adage goes, don’t try to fix what isn’t broken!

Connections are also good opportunities for contacts in the future. If you made a good connection with somebody and they happen to remember your name down the road when their company is hiring, they might reach out to you and talk to you about the opportunity that just opened up in their company. Just think, you could have opportunities falling into your lap before they even go onto the job boards!

There are many ways to stay busy and productive during the job search, and there are many different ways that you can continue doing exactly that beyond what I have listed here. These are just a few different ways that you can get started in building yourself and your motivation, and I encourage you to find new and interesting ways that work for you!

And don’t worry, there will come a day when luck will be on your side. Everyone has a fit somewhere, it’s just a matter of finding it!