Job hunting is never easy, but if you’ve been at it for awhile it can start to feel gut-wrenching. You may wonder if you’ll ever find a position, and you might even develop feelings of self-doubt, anxiety, and depression. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to protect your mental health and stay motivated even during an especially challenging job search.
How Can You Stay Motivated When Job Searching?
Create a Routine
Turning your job search into a routine can have powerful benefits for your mental health. It can lower anxiety, boost your confidence, and help you feel like you are moving forward.
Start by figuring out your own personal rhythms. Are you most productive in the morning or after lunch? Or maybe you’re a night owl. Plan your most difficult job search tasks, such as tweaking and sending out resumes, for your most productive hours. Assign easier tasks like searching job boards to lower-energy times of day. Also schedule time for meditation, yoga, or another mindfulness practice, along with daily exercise routines.
Set SMART Goals
SMART goals are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound. They give you a sense of accomplishment as you check off each one, keeping you motivated and moving forward. For example, you might decide to apply for one new position every day or increase your network by one contact each week.
It’s okay to have several SMART goals going at the same time, as long as you don’t overwhelm yourself. Focus on the things that are most important at each stage of your job search and that fit into the daily routine you’ve established.
List Your Past Accomplishments
Creating a list of your previous successes has two major benefits. First, it can help reassure you that you have accomplished great things in the past and will do so again. Second, it can directly help your job search by giving you something to focus on in future interviews.
Find Volunteer Work
Volunteering can help you stay busy, build your resume, and give you a topic for conversation during interviews. It’s also a great way to build your network, especially if you can find an opportunity that is related to your career field. You never know who you might meet and what open positions they might know about.
Your job search is important, but it isn’t the only important thing in life. If you start feeling like you’re obsessed, shut it down and walk away. Take advantage of your free time to have lunch with a friend, call a relative, or escape into a good book. You will be able to return to your job search with a new, healthier outlook.