Try These Exercises to Keep You Motivated During a Job Search

John Krautzel
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Searching for a job can be tough, especially if you're seeking employment in a highly competitive field. It's not uncommon for job seekers to submit resumes, cover letters and even recommendation letters to dozens of companies without getting an interview or even an acknowledgement from the organizations. If you're desperately searching for work and find yourself losing hope or feeling defeated during the process, follow these tips to boost your spirits and stay motivated during your job search.

Create a Solid Job Search Plan

Having a daily job search plan keeps you focused throughout the job search process, which is very important when it comes to staying motivated. Make a list of the companies you plan to contact, learn important details about the organizations, contact specific individuals on specific days, and ask for an interview. Your job search plan can also include a wide range of additional activities, such as attending company events that are open to the public in order to meet and network with employees. Follow your plan daily, and change or expand the plan as you learn about new opportunities.

Read Industry-Specific Blogs

Stay abreast of what's going on in your industry. This allows you to continuously expand your knowledge and gives you new industry-specific information to talk about during your interviews. This tip is especially important if you've been out of the workforce for months or years. Subscribe to career-related blogs, read industry-specific magazines, watch recent videos or documentaries related to your field, or read recently published books by industry leaders.

Find a Mentor

Find a mentor who is successful in your field, and talk to him regularly. Garner job tips, and ask him to provide feedback on your resume, cover letter and job search plan. Talk to him about industry-related topics, and ask him to share his experiences with specific companies. A mentor can be a great source of encouragement and can help you stay motivated.

Surround Yourself With Positive, Uplifting People

When you're not searching for a job, surround yourself with uplifting, positive people, and avoid naysayers, dream killers and anyone who discourages you. It's also a good ideal to socialize with employed, career-minded friends, as many of them are likely to understand what you're going through and are likely to offer their support.

Maintain a Healthy Lifestyle

Continue to exercise and eat healthy during your job search. It's easy to pick up bad habits, such as smoking, consuming unhealthy comfort foods or drinking too much alcohol, when you're feeling stressed or defeated, but it is important to resist these temptations. A good strategy is to set health goals during your job search process, and attempt to reach these goals daily to ensure you don't pick up any bad habits that can throw your job search efforts off track. Continue to engage in physical activities you love, or try something new and exciting.

Take Periodic Breaks

Take a couple afternoons off each week to review your job search progress and relax. Pounding the pavement each day can be mentally and physically exhausting, which can ultimately lead to a decrease in motivation. Taking periodic breaks prevents burnt out and reinvigorates you, giving you the energy to keep going.

Remember the Law of Averages

Never stop applying for jobs, submitting resumes and going on interviews. Always keep the law of averages in mind — the more jobs you apply for, the greater your chances of finding employment within your industry.

Searching for a job requires a great deal of effort, and following these tips can help you stay motivated, even after weeks or months of rejection. Never stop learning, growing, or developing personally and professionally during your job search period. Put a great deal of effort into your job search, but don't forget to take care of your physical and mental health. Doing so ensures you're healthy and in a positive mental state when you respond to phone calls, attend interviews and start your new job.

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  • Erica  T.
    Erica T.

    I've been looking for a new job (while maintaining my current one) for the past two months and it's been exhausting. I force myself to take two nights off during the week to have dinner with friends, read a good book or watch movies to unwind and focus on anything else by my job hunt. Taking breaks allows the body and the mind to relax. This can lead to new ideas or insights concerning the challenges of finding a new job, or at the very least, increase the energy needed to maintain momentum - especially when submitting resumes and not hearing anything back from a company.

  • Jay Bowyer
    Jay Bowyer

    Does anyone know what the best ways are to vet industry-specific blogs? I want to read up-to-date, informational articles written by well-informed experts — preferably without extreme bias. How can I go about finding the best reading material? Is a .gov web address better than a .org or a .com, for example, or does it not matter?

  • Jane H.
    Jane H.

    Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is such important advice. I have responsibilities outside the business world, even when I'm on the job search, and I have to maintain a positive work-life balance. Business is so competitive now, everything I submit to a potential employer must be my best effort. Likewise, I have to be really present when I'm with friends and family so they can get the attention they deserve.

  • Mike Van de Water
    Mike Van de Water

    Maintaining a positive attitude is unbelievably important, and I'm glad that you mentioned it, John. A positive outlook on life has a way of spreading, and hiring mangers certainly prefer an energetic and positive candidate over a negative one.

  • Jacqueline Parks
    Jacqueline Parks

    @William I think that expanding your job search outside the ideal can be helpful.. I understand that an engineer would not want to apply for a position as a food service worker, but there are plenty of opportunities in between. In my experience, applying for lots of jobs gets you noticed and gives you a steady stream of practice and motivation. Also, if you've been looking for awhile, it is a good idea to remember that you might find a suitable job outside of your previous niche.

  • Nancy Anderson
    Nancy Anderson

    @Hema a family member is probably not a good idea for a mentor unless maybe you are in a family business. Certainly a former supervisor or manager would make an excellent mentor. Same with people that you work with now. If you are uncomfortable having a mentor work in close proximity, look around your company and see if there is someone outside of your work space who would mentor you. Don't be afraid to ask. The worst that can happen is that they say no.

  • Hema Zahid
    Hema Zahid

    Would a former supervisor or manager make a good mentor? I’ve thought about asking successful family members to be mentors, but it doesn’t seem wise to mix my personal and professional life together. I can see how having a mentor would help but finding one seems to be just as difficult as finding a job.

  • Duncan  Maranga
    Duncan Maranga

    I believe being around the right people during your job hunting period will greatly contribute to your well being. Positive minded career people will enrich you with the right ideas and contacts that will see you through the phase. You will be surprised that you rarely feel the desperation of being jobless. This will even improve your health and self confidence.

  • Nancy Anderson
    Nancy Anderson

    @Shaday keep track of everything! It's too easy for that perfect job to slip through the cracks when you are applying for a lot of jobs. Personally I not only keep a spreadsheet of all of the positions that I applied for along with dates, contact information and so on but I print out a copy of the job posting, too. That way, if they call me for an impromptu phone interview, I have the job posting right in front of me and can respond intelligently instead of saying... oh yes I do remember applying but could you send me a copy of the job posting, etc. Always better to be over prepared!

  • Shaday Stewart
    Shaday Stewart

    Do you recommend tracking all of the actions you take in your job search or just keeping a list of your contact with target companies? I know that when I'm applying for a lot of jobs at once, it can be easy to get behind on follow-ups or lose sight of how the small tasks are adding up. A detailed chart might make the search more manageable, and if you're someone who enjoys organizing information (like me), the act of compiling the data can be motivating in its own way.

  • Shannon Philpott
    Shannon Philpott

    The suggestion of reading through industry-related blogs is really important. I would also add that commenting on these blogs can prompt interaction and networking that opens up job opportunities while also motivating job seekers to learn more about industry changes. Personally, I have connected with experts who have helped me learn so much more about my industry.

  • Lydia K.
    Lydia K.

    @Abbey, I find that we often get advised to find a job search mentor, but in many cases we don't get information on how to find one. Fortunately, the internet age makes taking this step easier. I agree that it's a good idea to read blogs specific to your industry. Posting comments or asking questions on blogs is a great way open up communications with potential mentors.

  • William Browning
    William Browning

    I would say it's not about applying for more and more jobs. It's about finding your right fit. The more opportunities you find in your wheelhouse is more important than applying to every job you see. If you have a background in engineering, there's no point in applying at McDonald's or Wal-Mart. Apply for more jobs that fit your qualifications and you have greater chances of success.

  • Abbey Boyd
    Abbey Boyd

    I love the idea of having a mentor, but just how, exactly, do you find one? Is this supposed to be someone that you know, or is there a way to find someone in the industry that you don't actually know? What is the best way to go about finding a mentor?

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