4 Tricks for Staying Motivated When You Can't Find a Job

Finding a new job can be stressful, and that’s definitely the case when it takes longer than expected. Staying motivated can be a real challenge when it’s slow going. Read on to see how to get back on track if you've become discouraged.

You’re about to enter the job market with an impressive resume, a confident interview style and a “go-get-’em” attitude. But even with all these things in your favor, the reality is that it could be months before anyone makes you a viable offer.

The longer you can't find a job, the more likely you are to become frustrated — and your “go-get-’em” mentality might get up and leave. Initially you may feel up to the job-search challenge, but a long dry spell can take its toll on your confidence, making the situation seem hopeless.

Fortunately, there are some things you can do to keep from falling down the rabbit hole during a prolonged job hunt. Following are four tricks for staying motivated:

1. Rethink rejection

Getting a “thank you for your interest” form letter after a promising interview — or worse, never hearing anything at all — can be demoralizing. But try hard not to take it personally and let it derail your efforts. Instead, take a fresh, objective look at your techniques and strategies. Maybe your quest for the “ideal” job is holding you back. If your dream of working at a large firm has not led to a job offer, for example, it might be time to broaden your options and consider smaller businesses. Consider asking “tell-it-like-it-is” friends and family to give their thoughts on your interviewing techniques and search efforts so far. You may gain some fresh ideas that help you move forward.

2. Make job-hunting a job

High achievers often feel like they’re in limbo when they're unemployed. To counteract this mindset, aim for a certain level of productivity each day in your job search. Set specific goals for yourself, such as writing and submitting three resumes on Monday and meeting with at least two business contacts by Friday. Applying a work mentality to your job hunt will give you a sense of fulfillment and bolster your morale.

3. Volunteer

This step offers a range of benefits when you can't find a job. For starters, it can get you out of your home and back to a routine and meeting people. Even if you don’t do administrative work for a group needing assistance, you’ll still build skills like leadership, collaboration and problem solving. And you can cite your volunteer experience on your resume. At the same time, you’ll broaden your network as you meet other volunteers and people working with the organization. Most importantly, you’ll be making a difference in your community, which can help you feel valuable, productive and happy.

4. Call in the cavalry

Consider working with a staffing agency. Well-connected recruiters can help point you in the right direction by offering advice on things like how to improve your resume and what types of positions you may be best suited for. They can also place you in temporary assignments with full-time potential.

Defeating the job-search blues may not happen overnight, but with productive new steps, you can take more control over your situation and regain the spark you had early on.

Have you dealt with a long job search? Do you have additional tips for staying motivated when you can't find a job? Share your strategies below.

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Tags: Job Search