Keep your chin up! – Staying motivated when applying for jobs

Nothing can sap your motivation quicker than a good old fashioned rejection to a job application. “Keep your spirits up,” your friends and family might say. Yet when you find yourself caught in the frustrating and draining cycle of stagnant inboxes and rejections after hours of working on your CV, cover letter or application form, keeping your spirits up does not exactly feel like a solution to any of your problems.

Yup, I’ve been there too. If I’m honest, I still am. But lately I’ve been trying to figure out how I can help myself to stay motivated during my job hunt, and I thought: Why not share some of these thoughts with people in a similar position? So here it goes… (Disclaimer: We’re all different and we get and stay motivated in different ways. This blog post might help you think about how you can stay motivated when feeling down in your job hunt, but it also might not. Hopefully you’ll figure out what’s gonna help you “keep your spirits up”.)

Keep it crackin’, keep pushin’

A mixture of structure and incentives can do a lot for your motivation.

For some people getting a new job might be enough of an incentive to keep up the hard work, but when it feels like there’s no end in sight to the job hunt there’s nothing wrong with giving yourself a little “treat” or some “reward time” to keep motivated. It can be something as little as taking some time off to go out in the sun, or to get a pint or coffee with a friend.

Get structured! If you create a realistic schedule with breaks, and you’re willing to make yourself stick to it, a lot can get done. It might be worth breaking the job hunt down to a series of small goals, rather than one big one. Small goals might include: write 5 cover letters; network with 20 people; secure 3 interviews etc. Creating a specific to-do list focusing on reaching some of the goals you’ve set can help you get structured in your effort to find a job and help you manage time more effectively.

It’s gonna take time

It’s not going to happen overnight. (If it does – count yourself lucky!) Most of you will have to send out CV after CV without even getting a response, and not every interview is going to result in a job offer. The key thing is to be realistic. It may take a few months – or longer – to find and secure the right job, and it will require a number of applications, interviews, and hard work. Be realistic about the time frame of your job search and make sure you’re not being too hard on yourself.

Psst! Being realistic doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be positive as well…

Seek criticism and try to get better

Feel like you’re not getting anywhere with your applications? It’s important to keep learning as you go, so make sure you seek criticism from your supporters such as friends, family and King’s Careers & Employability.

Evaluate yourself and your progress and keep it all in perspective. If you’re stuck, maybe you need to make changes to your process? Perhaps your applications can do with some more work, or your interview skills could need a quick refresher course? The key is to identify where you’re struggling and make the effort to get better.

“You got to put your past behind you”

(Yup, we’re ending this blog post with an inspirational quote from The Lion King – thanks Timon!)

Finding and securing the right job takes time and energy. And, quite naturally, you will feel a little bit down (or plain rejected) after an unsuccessful job application. However the ability to get – and stay – motivated during the job hunt is a critical skill to have if you’re looking for work. So to sum up, a few things might help you along the way:

  • Take breaks and reward yourself for all your hard work
  • Get structured and spend your time effectively
  • Be realistic about the time frame of your job search
  • Be positive and believe in yourself
  • Make sure to evaluate your progress as you go and make efforts to get better
  • Staying healthy can do wonders for your productivity and motivation

And, finally: learn how to handle rejection. Whether you like it or not it’s bound to happen, so you better learn how to deal with it and move on to the next application. You’ll get there eventually!


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