How to Effectively Maintain Your Job Search Motivation

job search motivationThe job hunt is beyond stressful. So you know the importance of maintaining your job search motivation…

So every day you take on the challenge. You look for opportunities, apply to positions, and search your network. You set up appointments and talk to whoever will listen. And yet weeks pass and it doesn’t seem like you have anything to show for it.

Eventually, your family begins to tell you that you must be doing something wrong. If you just tried harder, they say, you would get a job. At some point, you become demotivated, exhausted, Perhaps you don’t see the point of continuing your search.

When job seekers apply to one position after another and get nothing back over and over again; it is no wonder they lose motivation  and eventually give up!

Job Search Motivators aren’t Always Helpful

There are a lot of reasons that job seekers are motivated. Here are some excellent ones:

  • You want to provide for your family.
  • You want to pay your bills and keep your credit in good standing.
  • Millennials repeatedly tell me they want to be independent, move out of the house and they want their parents to be proud of them.
  • You want to be honorable and self-respecting.
  • You want to set a good example for your spouse, children, extended family, and friends.

Regardless of these motivators, the job search can be especially demotivating when your efforts repeatedly fail to produce results.  Yet, managing motivation is key to getting through. What will help?

Millennials, You are Especially Vulnerable

You have completed your education and for the first time in your life, you don’t know what the next step will be in your life or career. You feel pressure from your family, especially your parents. The pressure is unbearable. You apply for jobs and get nothing back. It’s as if you don’t exist. You feel like you have become invisible to society.

It is humiliating to take a job as a barista or a “retail customer service assistant.” Is this why you went to school? Is this the result of four or more years of study? On top of everything else, you’ll need to start paying your student loans in a few months. Again, the pressure is unbearable.

The Key to Motivation

I have observed countless job seekers for over a decade, and I have carefully observed the emotional roller-coaster of the job search. I have come to the conclusion that the key to motivation is “hope.” That said, it begs the question, how do we get some? How do we maintain it?

Here are three suggestions to help you maintain motivation in your job search:

  1. Set clear, weekly goals for each week. Complete them and take the weekend off.
  2. Identify and implement new actions in your job search and monitor them so you know what helps and what doesn’t.
  3. Your job search may take longer than you ever thought possible. If that happens, manage your life so you have no regrets about how you managed your finances, your time, and your relationships.

Weekly Job Search Goals

Setting and completing weekly goals brings a sense of accomplishment. It is the quantity and quality of the items on that checklist that make up the substance of a good job-search program. They should be quantifiable, or measurable, either in time spent or other numeric ratings. I suggest to my clients that by Friday evening of every week, they should be able to say, “I’ve done everything that was reasonable for my job search this week as outlined on my list.”

The elements of your list should include the following:

  1. Three to five well-crafted, customized, applications for jobs that are a good fit. (10 hours).
  2. Two to three quality networking interactions. (6 hours)
  3. Four hours (minimum) research in your industry, identifying potential possibilities, new alternatives for using your skills, researching companies that might be hiring, etc.
  4. Five to eight hours researching and contributing to your industry to stay informed on current changes. (LinkedIn groups can be part of this.)
  5. Five to eight hours learning new skills or acquiring certifications that can help in your future employment. Search for “free online courses in _________ .”
  6. Four to eight hours meaningful volunteer work.
  7. A two-hour meeting with your accountability partner to review the week and strategize the week to come.

Total Time: Approximately 40 – 50 hours per week.

This ensures you have done your due-diligence and can use your “off-time” to connect with your family, tackle those projects you never had time to do while you were working or in school, and enjoy time with friends. Having done your part, the remainder of your hours should be guilt-free.

Implementing New Actions

There is nothing more frustrating than not knowing what to do differently to get a better result. A job search is exactly the kind of situation where this kind of frustration can grow and become debilitating.

I suggest that clients carefully document changes that they make when they apply for positions and then monitor the result. This allows them to keep doing what is helping and eliminate what isn’t. A good career coach who can help troubleshoot the job search can be invaluable. Being part of a job search team can also be valuable as members share what was helpful for them and what wasn’t.

Managing Hope

Most people find that changes to their search keeps their hope alive as they identify what helps and what doesn’t. These changes do more than keep their hope alive, they propel the job search forward.

Bring life to your job search. Make it a dynamic project with goals, accomplishments, and progress… and carefully maintain your job search motivation.


For this post, YouTern thanks our friends at Forward Motion Careers.


Forward Motion Careers


Marcia LareauAbout the Author: Dr. Marcia LaReau has served in the business world for over ten years, including Fortune 100 companies. As a Curriculum Designer and Learning Technologist, she lead training initiatives for projects spanning 44,000 employees on four continents. As an HR Director, her use of unique, effective communication skills focused on learning processes to increase effectiveness and employee efficiency thereby reducing training budgets and maximizing training ROI.



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