Even when sparked by unexpected negative events, the job hunting process can start as an exciting one. There’s a lot to look forward to and you’re moving on to bigger and better things, right?
Unfortunately, that positivity can be challenging to maintain once reality sets in.
When the search goes on for longer than expected, the bank account starts to drop and you start to feel desperate, motivation can be a fleeting idea from the past that’s difficult to hang onto. It doesn’t have to be impossible, however.
Follow the tips below to help yourself remain motivated during the tough time that you might find yourself between jobs.
1. Embrace the Process
When something starts unexpectedly, you may find yourself in a place of denial. You might also feel resentment or dismay at the thought of having to “start all over.” You’re not alone. In fact, for every job opening in this country,there are three Americans on the hunt.
If something comes from a negative place, it’s hard to find positives – like motivation – from that same place. Instead, rethink your situation by embracing the process. Focus on the future, on the possibilities that lie ahead.
Remind yourself that you’re more than capable of tackling them. Embrace the process, instead of resist it, and you’re more likely to make forward progress.
2. Pick New Goals
Even if you saw your life going in a different direction, right now you’re going in a different one. That means that to find success, you must pick new goals and align yourself with them.
Think about where you want to go in your life and consider the following questions:
- In what areas of my professional life have I received positive feedback?
- What are my skills?
- What am I passionate about?
- How can I support my lifestyle and my family (pick a salary range)?
- Do I need additional education, certifications or other professional enrichment to get where I really want to go?
- Where do I see myself in ten years?
- What values do I want in a future employer?
Work on yourself – your goals and your vision – and you’ll be able to narrow down your search while working on bettering yourself as a person and employee.
3. Work on Your Image
There’s never a better time to work on who you are as a person than during an “in-between” stage of life, like during a job search. If you haven’t yet, get to work on your resume, redefine your skills and think about whether what’s on paper makes you stand out. If you need assistance, consider contacting a local resume writer or service.
Next, move onto your interview skills. If your resume does what it’s designed to do and gets you in the door and you look the part, you want to make sure you can act it as well. Practice common interview questions, put time into researching the company with which you’ll be interviewing, work on your mannerisms in front of a mirror and practice with a friend.
An interview should be an exciting opportunity, not something you dread. The more prepared you are, the more likely the former is to be true.
4. Do Good for Others
Sometimes staying motivated requires looking beyond yourself, toward others. When you feel down about your situation, it might help to put a few hours into volunteer work.
Run a local search for organizations that need volunteers – food banks, churches, Habitat for Humanity, animal shelters and others – then reach out. Set a specific amount of time aside each week to focus on something other than yourself.
5. Set a Schedule
There’s nothing less motivating than passing time aimlessly and wondering what will happen next. Think about your most productive days on the job; chances are, they included some sort of schedule or to-do list that helped you make the most of your time.
Your job search should be no different. Think about what you’re hoping to accomplish and set a schedule for yourself. Spend time each day practicing for interviews, applying for jobs, following up on applications you’ve sent and networking with other professionals.
The more structure you can provide for yourself, the more motivation you’re likely to derive from it while between jobs.
6. Take Breaks
Hunting for a new job doesn’t mean you have an extended vacation on your hand.
In fact, those who are most successful at the job search make it a full time job. But, sometimes you need a break. If your finances are stable, consider taking a vacation – solo or with the family.
If things are tighter than you’d like, simply make time to get away; go on a hike, visit a local attraction that will bring out your adventurous side or just go for a drive. Mental breaks will allow you to recharge and refocus while providing a little extra motivation.