Spending all your spare time searching and applying for positions can lead to a lack of job hunting motivation. Your applications and interviews might not be as compelling if you’re exhausted or overwhelmed. It’s essential to have balance and implement self-care when job hunting.
- Set specific times. Have start and end times each day, so you have dedicated periods to concentrate on finding new employment. Be firm and stick to your boundaries, so you can avoid job search burnout.
- Integrate breaks and days off for a well-rounded schedule. Regularly step away from your devices to give your eyes and mind a rest. Take longer breaks and days off to recharge. You may find inspiration and ideas flow more easily next time you apply for a role.
- Make time for the things you enjoy. Personal time is necessary too. Don’t give up the hobbies, activities, and social events you love; incorporate them into your routine. It gives you something to look forward to in your week, reduces stress and improves your mental health.
Be kind to yourself and celebrate achievements
Looking for a new position takes time and dedication. On average, it takes four months for UK candidates to land a role. Continually hunting and applying for roles is tough, so being kind to yourself is crucial.
- Create a list of your best qualities, skills, and accomplishments. Keep it visible to remind yourself why you are a strong candidate. Your list can also be a valuable resource when crafting cover letters and preparing for interviews, so you weave in your strengths, desirable skills, and what makes you stand out from other applicants. Review your list regularly to stay on top of trends and incorporate your learning from previous applications and interviews.
- Celebrate the small wins. Did you apply for your ideal role? Perhaps you connected with a specialist recruiter or networked with people in your industry? Or maybe you sent a prospective email to your dream company? Write down everything you achieve each week to give you a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment. Look back at them when you’re feeling discouraged to give you a boost.
- Implement a rewards system. Our brains respond to incentives. By rewarding yourself, your brain learns to anticipate the perceived ‘prize’ every time you do something in your routine. This can make it easier to implement and follow through with your schedule, as it increases your dopamine levels (the ‘feel good’ hormone). Rewards don’t have to be big or expensive, they could be as simple as making a cup of tea or coffee, going for a walk or watching your favourite TV programme every time you apply for a job. The key is choosing a system which works for you, and that spurs you on.
Your job search is about more than finding employment; it's also an opportunity to learn and grow both as a professional and as an individual. Expanding your knowledge can spark inspiration, open new doors and give you something you can discuss in applications and interviews.
- Stay up to date with industry trends. Watch or listen to motivational talks, podcasts and webinars or read industry-specific content to generate fresh ideas and approaches.
- Assess your skills. Conducting a skills audit highlights what you bring to the table and if you have any gaps in your knowledge. Check your abilities against job descriptions, so you can emphasise them in your CV and applications to increase your chances of standing out above other candidates.
- Decide what you want to develop. If there are areas you want to improve or refine, make a list in order of priority and interest. Concentrate on the skills you know companies are looking for and that you’ll enjoy learning. Your current employer may have training opportunities you can take advantage of while you still work there. If there aren’t appropriate options with your present company, research accredited training providers.
There are a wide variety of options for free training across the UK that you can access. Some of our favourites include:
- National Careers Service – training, skills assessments and careers guidance in England
- My World of Work – learning and volunteering opportunities across Scotland
- Careers Wales – helping people in Wales choose subjects, courses and apprenticeships
- NI Direct – development programmes in Northern Ireland
- OpenLearn – courses from The Open University
- Skills Bootcamps – flexible courses up to 16 weeks across England (once completed, you’ll be offered an interview with an employer)
- Udemy – an online learning and teaching marketplace
- FutureLearn – short digital courses from universities and specialist organisations
- LinkedIn Learning – choose from a range of expert-led programmes, tools and materials
Keep your options open
Until you have a written job offer, nothing is certain. Don’t put your eggs all in one basket; continue to explore new opportunities.
- Don’t stop. Even if you’ve had an interview, search and apply for roles while you’re waiting for the outcome. It means momentum and motivation don’t drop, so you have more chance of finding the right role for you. You never know, you may find a better position that suits your needs, values and goals.
- Focus on the next opportunity. We understand an unsuccessful application or interview can knock you back, especially if it was for your ideal role. If you're not offered a position, try to remain positive. The right job is around the corner. Reassess your goals and routine to see where you can make adjustments to create a robust post-interview plan.
- See everything as a learning experience. All interviews and applications are a chance to discover something. Don't let setbacks or rejections diminish your job hunting motivation or confidence. Use them to refine your search, develop new skills or find areas to improve on for your next interview and/or application to increase your chances of success.