5 Ways to Stay Motivated While Job Hunting


stay-motivated-while-job-huntingThis post originally appeared on The Daily Muse.

Another day, another click to “connect” on LinkedIn. Your motivation bottoms out after searching for the latest variation of the same job with a different name. After checking—yet again—your stagnant inbox, you close your laptop in defeat.

It’s easy to get stuck in this draining cycle. My experience in the job search taught me that one of the biggest challenges is just maintaining the motivation to continue, especially when you’re dealing with rejection and radio silence. But I also know that you can revive your motivation by making simple changes to your job-search approach, focusing less on all those resumes and cover letters, and more on you and what you want.

Climb out of your motivational slump with these five tips.

1. Get Specific With Your To-Do List

When your motivation is low, general job-searching tasks like “network” and “redo resume” can be overwhelming. A great way to instantly make your search seem more manageable? Rework your to-do list to include smaller, more specific tasks.

For example, when I was job searching, I made it a goal to reach out to two direct contacts one day and two referrals the next for informational interviews. Both were easy to-dos that, over time, helped me reach my broader goal of expanding my network (and, as a bonus, do so without feeling like I was “networking).

In addition, when it came to actively applying, instead of telling myself I had to find more jobs in general, I gave myself a weekly quota of two to three jobs. This was a realistic goal that allowed me to focus my attention on crafting the best job applications each week (and saved me from writing hundreds of cover letters).

2. Look Up Your Career Role Models

When you’re job searching, reading description after description requiring “five to seven years of experience” in a certain field, it’s hard to remember the truth about career paths: They’re rarely linear. In fact, most successful people made loops, jumps, and a few skids to get to where they are today.

So, step away from the job boards, hop over to LinkedIn, and search for people who have your dream jobs or who work at companies you are interested in. Looking at the various ways people have gotten to where they are now will likely remind you that there is no straight path to success (for example, I once interviewed with a former journalist and screenwriter turned vice president of marketing).

Better yet, reach out to a few of these people. Asking people to share a bit about how they got to where they are and some advice for your own search can be incredibly helpful—and motivating.