In our Job Search workshop this week someone asked me how I stay motivated when trying to find a job. People often underestimate how tough and long the job hunt can be. While it’s entirely possible to find a job easily (and before you even graduate) this isn’t always the case. Figures vary from year to year but it can often take anywhere from 3 to 6 months.

If you are going through that very situation, like I have and many others I know have, here are some of my tips for keeping on top of things:

  1. Treat finding work like a job – a routine can help keep you focused and productive. How that routine looks is down to you e.g. I used to apply for jobs in the morning, meet with some contacts in the afternoon/go for a walk, relax in the evenings. If you’re applying for jobs that are 9am – 5pm then it may be easier to model your job hunt around the same time frame, that way you’re awake if employers or recruiters contact you!
  2. Attitude is everything – the longer it takes to find a job the more our self-esteem can dip. Be mindful of how you talk to yourself when you’re job hunting and how your attitude can impact how you write your applications and how you come across in job interviews.
  3. Keep busy – don’t just sit at a computer day in, day out. Think about other things you can do to keep yourself active and fulfilled:
    • Volunteering – Not only will it mean less of a gap in your CV but it’s an excellent way of developing new skills and contributing something to your community. Just because it’s not paid doesn’t mean it’s not relevant and important. Here in Wellington we have Volunteer Wellington but NZ has other local volunteer centres.
    • Start a project – Just because you don’t have a paid job shouldn’t stop you from learning new skills or keeping the old ones from getting rusty. Perhaps there’s something you’ve always wanted to learn – be it creative, technical or something else. Use this time to make a start.
    • Exercise – I’m the first to say I’m not a lover of exercise but there is no denying the benefits for our mind and body, especially when job hunting.
  4. Reflect and ask for feedback – are you finding jobs to apply for but your application is not getting you an interview? Are you getting interviews but no job offers? It’s so important to consider whether there is something you can do better. No-one likes to admit we might be going about something wrong but if you find someone you feel comfortable with who has some experience in hiring staff, ask for help. Or check out these tips from employers
  5. Access support and make the job hunt a team effort – places like Work and Income, Victoria Financial Support and Advice, for females there is Dress For Success (who also have a breakfast club), your friendly local careers office, your network of family and friends, teachers and mentors.

Some other blogs for inspiration:

5 ways to stay motivated in a frustrating job hunt

Top tips for staying positive while job searching

How can I stay motivated during my job search

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Career advice, Interview, Job application, Looking for work, Motivation, Networking, Personal development, Skills development