How to Stay Motivated During a Long (And Exhausting) Job Search

How to Stay Motivated During a Long (And Exhausting) Job Search

If anyone has ever tried convincing you that finding a job is easy, then you’ve likely learned by now that this is unfortunately not the case. 

From sifting through hundreds of roles and tedious application processes to lackluster interview experiences and dreaded rejection letters, finding your dream job can be stressful and discouraging. Maybe you even get to the point where you feel completely hopeless about ever finding your dream job. 

We’re here to assure you that if you are feeling down about your job search (to the point where you’re maybe even considering throwing in the towel or settling for something you’re not truly excited about), you’re not alone. And help is available.  

Job Search Depression Is Real and Common  

Job searching can be a long, arduous and overwhelming process, and it’s not uncommon for job seekers to lose motivation to continue their search along the way. In fact, it’s estimated that up to 56% of job seekers experience some form of job-search depression, a condition characterized by feelings of hopelessness, frustration and boredom. 

The key to staying motivated and optimistic during a job search is to understand that this is a very normal part of the process—but job-search depression isn’t inevitable. There’s a better way.  

To combat job-search depression, it’s important to focus on maintaining a healthy search routine and taking proactive measures to stay in good spirits during the process. 

Here’s how you can do just that. 

Five Ways to Stay Motivated During a Job Search 

1. Create a Healthy Search Routine

One of the biggest contributors to job-search depression is feeling like you’re constantly at a dead end. To avoid this, create a routine for yourself that includes specific times for job searching, applying and networking. Set aside times each day for searching and applying for jobs and stick to those times as much as possible. This will help you stay organized and avoid feeling like you’re constantly on the lookout for job opportunities. 

Don’t forget to take care of yourself during this time, either. Prioritizing quality sleep, eating well, regular exercise, and taking intentional breaks for hours, days, or even weeks at a time (if possible for your situation) can go a long way. 

2. Focus on What You’re Interested In

It can be easy to get caught up in the monotony of applying for job after job, but to stay motivated, try focusing on only the positions that interest you the most. This will give you a sense of purpose and help you stay invested in your job search. 

When looking for jobs, take the time to read the job descriptions thoroughly and make sure you understand what the job entails and what is expected of you. If you’re a pen-and-paper kind of person, you may want to consider creating a “hot list” of five companies that inspire you to use as motivation and for comparing a prospective employer with the best firms according to you. 

If any part of a job description is unclear, don’t be afraid to reach out to the employer and ask for clarification. This will help you determine whether the job is truly a good fit for you and your interests. 

3. Remember Your “Why”

Take some time to reflect on why you’re searching for a new job in the first place. Is it to advance your career, earn more money, or to simply have a change of pace or scenery? Keep these reasons in mind as you search and remind yourself often that the end goal is well worth the effort. 

When you’re feeling discouraged, it can be helpful to jot down your reasons for wanting to find a new job on a sticky note and read them whenever you need a boost of motivation. Focus not just on where you want to work and the salary you want to make, but the kind of people you’d like to be on a team with and the way you’d like to feel in a new role.  

Pro-tip: Build a tolerance to rejection letters. Become resilient to the perfectly natural initial sense of disappointment. Try not to take these hiring decisions personally. It’s likely about what someone else had versus anything you were lacking. Try to reframe getting “rejected” as a wise assist from the “job-searchiverse.” 

Remember: You won’t miss the one that’s meant for you. Think of each rejection letter as an elimination of something that wasn’t quite right. And now, you’re one step closer to that just-right thing.  

4. Set Micro-Goals for Yourself

Setting achievable goals for your job search is a great tactic to keep motivation and focus high while working toward your ultimate end goal. These micro-goals could include applying for a certain number of jobs each week, networking with a certain number of people, or updating your resume and cover letter. 

Having specific, measurable goals will give you a sense of accomplishment along the way while also regularly tracking your progress and avoiding burnout. Bonus points if you want to reward yourself for checking off certain micro-goals on your list, too. Go for coffee, treat yourself to a nature walk, or spend some time with an inspiring podcast about personal or professional development.  

5. Be Selective

It can be tempting to apply for every job you see, but this can quickly become overwhelming, demotivating and ultimately, a waste of your time and energy. Rather than casting such a wide net, practice the fine art of discernment. Give yourself permission to be choosy about where you apply and focus on the positions that truly interest you and align with your skills, values and experience. Doing so will not only increase your chances of landing a job you actually want, but it will also help you stay invested in your search. 

Pro tip: Take the time to tailor your application and even your resume to each specific job. Make sure you’re highlighting the relevant skills and experiences that answer the specific requirements and qualifications in the job posting. This will increase your chances of getting noticed by an employer and help you feel more confident as you move into the interview process. 

Partner With the Professionals to Streamline and Superpower Your Job Search 

Staying motivated during a job search can undoubtedly be challenging, but by creating a healthy routine, focusing on what you’re interested in, and setting achievable goals, you can maintain a positive mindset and keep your focus on landing your dream job. 

At Peoplelink Staffing, we believe that just because job-search depression is a normal part of the process, it doesn’t mean that it’s an inevitable part of your experience. With the right partner at your side, you can navigate the sea of options, get a fresh point of view on what makes you truly unique and worthy of a great role, and access only those roles that will level you up in every way.  

Our team of experienced recruiters can help you streamline your job search and connect you with the best job opportunities for your skills and experience. Contact us today to learn more about how we can be your expert guide and trusted advocate—and we’ll help you stay positive, motivated and clear on your goals every step of the way.