5 Ways to stay motivated while looking for work

It has been 3 months and still no jobs.

You get up at 7.00 am every day, have your breakfast, take a shower, dress and switch on your computer at 8.30am. You check your emails to see whether or not you have received any feedback regarding your applications.

Nothing. Not even a NO.

So once again like every morning, you login into LinkedIn, check your messages and start searching for jobs. This has been the routine for too long and you are starting to lose hope.

You are doing everything you’re supposed to do. You tweak your CV before sending it to prospective employers, you connect and talk with key decision makers, you publish articles related to your field of work, you comment on posts where you feel you have something to say. You also go to networking events related to your field. You talk to relatives, friends, former colleagues and bosses… but still nothing.

At 12.30 you have lunch and at 13.30 you carry on with more job searches. Before you know it, 6pm and your kids are back from school. You’ll have to start searching for jobs again tomorrow.

How tiring this process can be. Looking for a job can be draining, demotivating and hard. I know that feeling because I have been there.

When your motivation is low, it is easy to have negative emotions and get stuck in this draining cycle. The biggest challenge when looking for a job it to maintain your enthusiasm, especially when you are dealing with rejections and radio silence.

Shake up your job search routine

However, by applying some changes to your job search routine, your can reignite your energy and stay motivated. Here are some techniques I have used in the past and have suggested to my clients, which are very effective.

1. Get out of the house

If you are in the house Monday through Sunday for sure you will become crazy and demotivated. Make yourself presentable, take your laptop and go to a co-working space, a café or the library. Seeing other people working will help you stay productive.

As I work from home, I make sure I meet with other solo entrepreneurs like me, and we work from a co-working space. As you can imagine, working from home you can sometime feel lonely, but by being around other people your energy shift positively.

2. Treat yourself everyday

During the day do something that you like. Go and have lunch with a friend, or former colleagues or bosses even. Listen to music that you enjoy and makes you feel good. Treat yourself to a nice pastry or a snack. Have a walk in a park or do some exercises. Research shows that people who exercise feel more energetic, sleep better, have sharper memories and feel more relaxed and positive about themselves and their lives.

3. Refocus

Make a list of what you are looking for in your next role. Yes, I know I mentioned this in some of my previous posts but if it has been 3 months and you need to find a job quickly, you also need to stay focused. Objectives can easily drift if you don’t remind yourself of what they are.

So make a list of what you really want in your next role. i.e the skills you want to use, skills you want to develop, people you want to work with, benefits you want to have, environment you want to be in.

4. Take some time off

If you’ve been job searching for a while, you owe it to yourself to take a break. It is essential to clear your mind so you can come back refreshed and more positive.

Depending on where you live and your budget, try to get away for a few days to a completely different environment. That could be the coast, the mountains or to visit some relatives or friends in another city.

5. Learn something new

Break up the monotony while doing something to benefit your career. There are lots of resources to learn new skills, cheaply or for free. – Here you’ll find courses from top universities to learn anything from economics to psychology, for free.

Udemy. com – This site has tons of small budget courses to learn anything from accountancy to social media.

Volunteer in a company where you can develop your skills or learn new ones. This will get you out of the house and interacting with people too.

See what works for you

These techniques worked for my clients and for me, so have a try. See what you can do to keep yourself fresh, focussed and motivated.


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Food for Thought

What would you say to someone who:
1. Thinks they are too old to follow their dreams?
I would say if tomorrow was your last day on earth, what would like to be remembered for?
No one is too old, it’s just fear. Stop thinking of the impossible. Stop focusing on your age! Start thinking about what life is about. They are so many choices in life, but we like to put barriers to ourselves so we can justify why we are not following our dreams.
2. Needs change but doesn’t know what they want?
Dig into yourself. You are the person who knows best about yourself. What makes you smile and excites you? What are the things you cannot live without? What do you enjoy at work and out of work? What did you want to be when you grow up? Have you fulfilled this dream?
3. Doesn’t want to risk current salary?
Life is about discovery and living different experiences. Speak to relatives about your plans. Some might approve others might not. Make a list of your monthly expenses and how much money you need to live comfortably. Eliminate the things you don’t really need.
If you don’t try you won’t know.
If you are not ready to go through challenges, if you are not ready to explore and to learn, if you are not ready to fail, and to be judged, you might not be ready for change.


Exercises I wish I’d done before making a career change

More than 12 years ago, I made a career pivot. I ended up in a completely new field of work which was Human Resources. Although worth it in the end, the journey wasn’t easy. I was unsure of a lot of things.

Looking back, I could have made the process much less stressful than it was. I wish I had thought things through more clearly. I wish I’d considered ALL the alternatives available to me and what the change would mean in my life.

If you are thinking of taking the plunge, you will first need to work out if you’re really ready for a career change. Explore thoroughly what it is you want to change and why. Once you’ve worked that out, plan and prepare for the move because it will require your time, effort and commitment

Get inspired

These 5 exercises are going to help you understand yourself and discover what could make a great career move for you. After doing these exercises you should be inspired and excited about the future, with a clearer idea of what your career transition will look like.

Enjoy the process!

Exercise 1: Reveal your passions

The things you love to do must play a key role in your career if you’re to be happy. But in addition to that, to keep yourself from boredom and stagnation, you’ll need to find out what your driving forces are. So ask yourself these important questions:

  • Which activities (at home or work) do you get most satisfaction from?
  • When have you enjoyed your work the most?
  • What talents do you enjoy using the most?
  • When have you been the most sure of yourself and your decisions?
  • When do you use your creative side?
  • What do you strongly stand for?
  • When have you been most committed, passionate and enthusiastic?
  • What impact do you want to make in this world?
  • What tasks do you like to do at work when you have a choice?

Exercise 2: Timeline

Sometimes we overlook the significant events in our lives and how they impacted us, whether positively or negatively. By doing this timeline exercise you’ll reflect on the past and develop insights to help you create a better future career.

  • Draw a horizontal line across the middle of an A4 piece of paper.
  • Plot your age along the line starting with your current age on right-hand side, and work backwards to the left.
  • Then put a ‘plus’ (+) above the horizontal line to signify times you look back on as being positive and enjoyable. Put a ‘minus’ (-) below the line to signify times you look back on when things were not going well.
  • Think of the significant events from your past. For example, starting school, early career decisions, job roles, and any other important events in your personal life, eg moving home, starting a family etc. 
  • Write each of these above or below the line to represent whether you experienced it as being a positive or negative time. 
  • When you are happy that you have enough of the key points on your chart you can connect them with a line. 

    Here is an example of how it looks:

    When you are ready you can share your line with a trusted partner. Discuss what impacted you, how, and why.

    What insights do you have for your next career move?

Exercise 3: Strengths stocktake

When making a career or job change, it is important to know your top strengths. It’s not necessarily obvious either. This exercise is always worth doing thoroughly.

Look for the evidence of your strengths using these sources…

Look in your CV

Go over your CV to remind you of past job roles. 

  • What did you do in each role that you really excelled at? 
  • What did you do better than anyone else?
  • Which of your achievements are you most proud of?
  • What advantages do you have that others don’t have (for example, skills, certifications, education, or connections)?

Your timeline exercise

Use your timeline exercise to jog your memory as well. Were there events in your life when your talents really sparkled?

Ask others

What do other people (your boss, peers, and clients) see as your strengths?

Exercise 4: GROW into action

To get from point A to point B you need a clear set of steps. I didn’t have that when I made my career pivot, which meant I wasted a lot of time and energy.

Here is a powerful simple framework used in coaching, mentoring and problem solving called The GROW Model.

It will help you:

  • get clarity on what you want
  • gain awareness of your current situation
  • explore options and generate solutions, 
  • establish a clear action plan and ultimately reach your end goals.

    G is for GOAL

    Ask yourself:  Where do I want to be?

    R is for Reality

    Ask yourself “What does my current situation look like?”

    O is for Options

    List ALL of the options available to you, whether easy or difficult.

    W is for Way forward

    Decide what actions or steps you will take.

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Do you know how to market yourself?

You don’t need to work in a Sales department to know how to sell. When clients come to me and say they don’t know how to convince hiring companies of their potential or worth, I would gently remind them that we all have the skill to sell as this is part of our daily life. We sell our ideas to investors or clients, we sell our point of views and opinions to our bosses, colleagues and friends, we sell to our kids or partner.

When we really believe in something, we know how to promote it and we promote it very well. So why can’t we do it for ourselves if we really believe in ourselves?

Timothy Gallwey who wrote The Inner Game of Work, mentioned in his book that a 5 year old, is skilled at selling parents by developing rapport, by handling objections creatively, by changing their approach, by customizing their sales approach, by not being fear of rejection or fear of failure and always come back and try again.

My 3 years old daughter does that all the time, and I admire her persistence, her way of trying to convince us and her cleverness.

She is very focus on her end goal, and that’s why she is able to change her approach.


How to overcome failure?

How do you get re-energized after being told you have not been appointed for a role you thought would be yours?

Do something that you really enjoy. For example go and see a movie or a play that you always wanted to see, have a meal in your favourite restaurant, take a walk, read your favourite book, listen or watch some motivational speakers on YouTube, treat yourself.

Take the time to reflect on your experience.

Tomorrow is another day and a greater day.  Is it hard to always stay positive? Yes, but if you believe that you will find the right job and in the right company, you will.

Yesterday I had a down moment, what I did was to read my goals, and went through my vision board.  I felt so relaxed afterwards, and these helped remind myself why I want to achieve those goals