Positivity is a solid foundation for any job search. Let’s build upon that.
When you’ve been on the job hunt for a while, every rejection letter can feel a little bit soul crushing. Hearing nothing at all can create just as much job search frusteration, especially when you’ve gone to great lengths to tailor your applications to each position.
But while it’s only natural to feel job search frusteration when things aren’t going as planned, research shows that maintaining a positive outlook can help us become more resilient, which means we’re better able to bounce back from negative events and regulate our emotions.
Of course, a positive attitude isn’t something you can just turn on, but there are some things that can help, so here are a few tips for staying positive and maintaining job search motivation as your search progresses.
1. Settle into a daily routine.
Developing and sticking to a daily routine is important as research shows that routines can be beneficial to our mental wellbeing. Some studies have found that rituals can reduce anxiety, increase confidence and even alleviate grief.
So even if you don’t have a job to go to right now, try to settle into a daily routine that helps you get up at the same time each morning and work towards small goals. A routine can also help with maintaining job search motivation. For instance, you could start the day by having your breakfast, meditating or going for a run, and then tackling daily tasks such as applying for jobs, updating your LinkedIn profile, preparing healthy meals and meeting up with friends.
2. Set measurable goals.
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 as specific as possible so you can track your progress. These goals can help you avoid job search frustration and keep you on track.
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.
When you reach one of your goals, find small ways to reward yourself, whether it’s an extra episode of your favorite TV show or a night out with friends.
3. Make a list of all your achievements.
If you’re experiencing some job search frustration or feeling a bit 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. So start putting together a list of all your major achievements, from specific problems you solved at work to promotions or pay raises you received to major projects you assisted with.
As an added bonus, having all your professional achievements lined up can also make it easier to include your most relevant work experience on your resume and discuss your career highlights in job interviews.
4. Look for an opportunity to volunteer.
If the lack of action is making you antsy, you may want to consider finding a temporary volunteer position. Not only will this keep you busy until you land a paying job, but it will also look great on your resume and give you something new to talk about in job interviews.
Volunteering is also a great opportunity for networking, especially if you’re able to find a position that matches your career interests. Sites like Idealist.org and VolunteerMatch.org can help you identify volunteer opportunities in your area.
5. Focus on the things you can control.
When searching for a new job, there will inevitably be some things that you have no control over, such as the job market and economy, industry trends or even your location. To keep up your job search motivation, try to stop stressing about the things you can’t influence and instead focus on what you can do to improve your situation.
Things you can do include enhancing your resume and strengthening your online presence, gaining relevant experience through volunteer opportunities, updating your current skills or gaining new qualifications, and making sure you’re well prepared for job interviews.
6. Take a step back.
Spending your every waking moment obsessing about finding the perfect job can quickly lead to job search frustration and ultimately, burnout, so if you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed, take a step back and remind yourself of all the other important things in your life, like your friends, family and personal interests.
You don’t have to do everything at once, and while you should certainly prioritize your job search activities, it’s equally important to set aside time for the things you enjoy. Don’t feel guilty about spending time with your friends, reading a good book, learning a new skill or anything else that helps you maintain a positive outlook on life and feel good about yourself.
Above all, remember that your situation is temporary and things will eventually fall into place, even if takes a bit longer than anticipated.
Need help with your resume? Take advantage of our free critique today!