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Staying motivated during your search

Written by: Michelle O'Neill at West Midlands Employers
Published on: 6 Dec 2022

You’re not failing…. this is simply a moment to remember your greatness.

You just want to work. Why is that so difficult! You’re amazing and yet you can’t seem to catch a break.

Yep, we’ve all been there, so we’re giving you permission to cut yourself some slack. 

Think Walt Disney, Steve Jobs, J.K Rowling. Just a few of some of the most successful people we all know who can recite numerous epic failings and tough times throughout their careers. Although, we imagine at this point you’re saying “Who cares! They made it! I’m never going to be them”. And that’s where we ask you to have a little faith in who you are, and you might just be surprised.

Job hunting is like most things in life. It’s going to need you to be thick skinned, persistent, and assured of what you have to offer. It may seem odd to say, but rejection in the world of recruitment is not personal. It feels it; but in reality it isn’t. You are one of many in the same boat right now, looking at the same roles and determined to find work soon. To the employer, you are simply a name on a piece of paper (or screen these days) – they don’t yet know how ace you are! And let’s face it, when you do meet an employer it’s in an interview setting and that is one of the toughest places to showcase all your awesomeness.

So, our biggest advice to you is treat looking for a job as if it were your job. That means structuring your day, having breaks (including lunch!), having a plan, and set of tasks for the day, connecting with people who matter around you and switching off when the day is done. Have another interest or focus outside of the working day to distract you so you can return with fresh, renewed energy the next day. At work you accept some days are better than others. Some days you feel like you’ve made great progress and other days you may take a step back. But it’s work and we keep going.

There is only so much you can do, but here are a few things we recommend should be on your ‘To-do’ list:
•    Start your day remembering what you’re good at and visualise where you want to be
•    Make sure you do your homework about an employer or a job before hitting ‘apply’
•    Set yourself realistic targets – sometimes less is more! Think quality not quantity
•    Get on LinkedIn if you’re not already and follow inspiring people in your field. In this instance its not ‘location, location, location’ but definitely ‘connection, connection, connection’
•    Find space to read or listen to industry relevant content, keep yourself up to speed
•    Focus on the things you can control and go step by step. Cherish the small successes – getting a good quality application in on time is a success!
•    Be creative in how you can stand out from the crowd whilst being true to yourself

Now here’s our biggest heads up. Be careful what you post on social media. Employers will look. Try not to let your frustrations with job hunting come across as critical of employers in the general sense. It might not help your cause. Choose your words wisely to make your voice heard. Use the platforms as another means to promote the very reasons why the next employer should want to recruit you immediately! 

This job-hunting business is like running a marathon, not a sprint. Do not beat yourself up if you’re not at the head of the running pack yet. It’s ok to feel not ok. Talk. Connect. Share and be prepared to try something new. Ultimately, learning how to manage setbacks could be one of the greatest outcomes of this period in your life. Conquer this and you can conquer anything.

Michelle image  

Recognise this iconic picture? If not, search ‘Rocky Balboa’. It’s apt we leave you with a few of the lyrics that accompanied Rocky up those famous steps….
“Trying hard now; It's so hard now; Trying hard now
Getting strong now; Won't be long now; Getting strong now
Gonna Fly Now; Flying high now; Gonna fly, fly, fly...”