Searching for a job can be a demoralising task. You set out positively, confident you’ll find your next job in no time. But as the weeks go on, you can find yourself without an offer and dipping morale, which can negatively affect your interaction with people of influence and potential employers. Your conversations may be tainted with talk of the lack of jobs or the difficulty with the current economy, rather than focused on your motivation and enthusiasm for the specific industry or company you’re looking to enter. For this reason, it’s essential you remain motivated and positive during your job search…read on for my top tips!

1) Have a plan and stick to it

In order to remain motivated during your job search you need to have a strategy in place to guide your actions and stick to it. Be clear about your job search goals (e.g. which companies you’re going to target, your job priorities, where you’re going to search for opportunities) and set yourself actions to help reach these goals. Breaking your goals down and setting smaller ‘mini-steps’ will help make your goals more achievable. Having a plan will provide you with structure and ensure the time you spend job searching is productive and on-task. It will also stop you from sending out blanket applications to numerous companies and applying for roles you’re not really interested in.

If you’re looking for further advice on creating an effective job search strategy then check out my earlier blog post here: http://careerzest.co.uk/7-top-tips-for-a-productive-job-search/

2) Have a support network

Surround yourself with positive people who support your job search and will provide a listening ear and advice when needed. It might be a good idea to tell one or two people in your circle that you’re job searching and check with them if it’s ok to offload some of your thoughts/concerns with them. Or perhaps you can approach a couple of friends to see if you could practice your networking skills with them. Most friends will be more than happy to help and will appreciate you asking them first. On the flip side, you want to avoid negative people during your job search. Nothing is more demotivating than hearing their opinion on how now is not the right time to be searching for a job or how difficult it is to get into your chosen industry. Have confidence in your job search plans and ignore the pessimists!

3) Remind yourself of your achievements

We all need a reminder of our achievements, and never more so than when we’re putting ourselves out there in front of employers and potentially dealing with rejection. An idea I love comes from Aimee Bateman (careers expert and Founder of Careercake.com), who says job seekers should have a ‘brag file’, which is basically a collection of positive feedback you’ve received from previous employers, clients and/or colleagues. Whenever someone gives you some great feedback make sure you save the email, or ask for a written testimonial if it’s a client. Alongside this keep a list of your main work achievements. You can then use this for your CV and interview and also to remind yourself of how brilliant you are when you’re feeling downhearted with your job search!

4) Take action

If you take a passive stance while job searching and simply wait for jobs to come to you I guarantee you’ll be waiting a long time. Keep active and make sure your job searching strategy involves tasks such as networking, keeping your social media presence up to date, and holding informational interviews with people in your industry. You should also consider what you could give back to the job-hunting community – can you add to forums about roles you’ve seen that others may be interested in? Perhaps you could volunteer in your community or undertake online training courses to develop your skills alongside your job search. The more activity you do and the more you give, the more motivated you will feel and the more attractive you will be to employers. Importantly, concentrate on tasks that are within your control – stop staring at your inbox waiting for replies or chasing employers to find out when they’ll be advertising, instead focus your efforts on getting yourself out there and creating tailored applications for roles you’re actually interested in.

5) Keep your motivation levels topped up

It’s important to keep in mind that life is more than a job search. It would be counter-productive to spend every hour of every day focused on finding a job, and it is inevitable that you will have your up and down days during the process. Try to accept where you are, have confidence in yourself and focus on where you are going. Take time to identify what motivates you and incorporate these activities into your day. For some people, this might be reading a motivational blog or watching a TED talk, for others it might be listening to music, seeing friends or heading outside for some exercise. Schedule time into your strategy to work on both job-related activities and tasks that you enjoy. If you find yourself feeling low on motivation don’t chain yourself to the desk or beat yourself up – there’s no way you’re going to be productive in that state of mind. Instead, do something you enjoy, top up your happiness levels and then return to your job search with renewed motivation.

It’s not easy to maintain motivation while searching for a job, however by taking these tips on board you’re giving yourself the best chances of staying positive during your search…and dare I say it you might even enjoy the journey!