Top tips on how to stay motivated during your job search

Top tips on how to stay motivated during your job search
Top tips on how to stay motivated during your job search

posted 07 Nov 23

Searching for a new role can be exciting. You might be eager and enthusiastic about finding your next opportunity. But job hunting can also feel like you’re on a rollercoaster, with unexpected ups and downs.  

As a recruitment agency with more than 35 years' experience, we understand the challenges that come with finding employment. To help you stay motivated, our recruitment specialists have put together some friendly advice and their top job search tips.  

Set yourself up for success  

Instead of jumping straight into your job hunt, take the time to prepare thoroughly. Being organised demonstrates to potential employers that you’re a strong and proactive candidate. It also helps to put you in a positive and productive mindset. 

  • Update your CV. Make sure it includes your current work history and abilities. An overwhelming number of larger organisations (98%) use automated tools to scan CVs. Increase the chances of appearing in searches by including keywords relevant to your role and specialism.  
  • Clean up your LinkedIn profile. Almost half (45%) of hirers explicitly use skills data on LinkedIn to fill vacancies, so check yours are up-to-date and relevant. Follow companies you’d like to work for to see when they post job listings and stay on top of their businesses’ activities – this gives you valuable insight to drop into applications and interviews to show you’ve researched the company. Connect with and follow professionals in your industry or your dream position to build your network and gather tips and advice.  
  • Review your social media. Hiring managers and recruiters often check candidates’ social media profiles. One in 20 job seekers claim they’ve been rejected from a role because the recruiting company was put off by one of their social media accounts. Make sure there’s nothing on your profiles that you wouldn’t want prospective employers to see. 
  • Gather a support system. Finding a new role can be hard. Are there individuals you can rely on for advice, who can lift your spirits and keep an eye out for opportunities for you? This could be friends, family, mentors, industry contacts, former colleagues, managers or a recruiter 

Set clear goals 

Establishing achievable goals allows you to hone in on the right opportunities for you, and understand what is important to you.  

  • Outline your preferences and non-negotiables. Be specific on your desired job role, the industries you’d like to work in, salary expectations and location. Write everything down, so you can look back at them when you’re applying for positions to make sure they align with your goals.  
  • Have a well-defined plan. Now that you’ve determined your ideals, it’s time to plan how you’re going to reach them. Creating job search strategies allows you to focus on what you want from your career and next position. It also gives you a baseline, so you can regularly assess your progress to see if you’re meeting your targets. 
  • Choose your channels. Instead of searching spontaneously, pick channels that suit your job-hunting style, role, industry and schedule. Are you going to use online boards or LinkedIn, network digitally or in person, send a cold email to your dream employer(s), work with a recruitment agency or utilise a mixture of avenues? Knowing the exact channels to pursue saves you time and energy, as you don’t have to think of places to look constantly.  
  • Be realistic with your goals and strategy. How much time can you practically spend each week researching and applying for new employment? How many channels can you realistically use each day? Do your salary expectations meet your market value (what a person with your experience and skills could earn)? 

Create a routine 

Without a routine, we can lack focus. Having daily and weekly schedules means you’re making the most of the time you have to search for roles. It also helps you stay accountable, so you remain on course and reach your goals.  

  • Set yourself key targets. Don’t fixate on the outcome, concentrate on what you can control. Write a checklist of what you want to achieve that day or week to break your search down into manageable chunks. This could be jobs you want to apply for, companies and contacts you intend to reach out or networking events you will attend.  
  • Schedule time in your diary. Be specific; outline which roles you’re applying for each day and at what time. Treat them like an appointment and put them in your calendar. Knowing what you want to achieve on any given day can help you avoid distractions and stay on track.

  • Prioritise quality over quantity. Aim for targeted and high-quality applications rather than applying for multiple jobs daily. Spending time showing companies why you’re their perfect candidate can strengthen your application and set you apart from other applicants.

Create balance   

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.  

Continuously learn 

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.
Build relationships with recruiters

Build relationships with recruiters

You don’t have to go it alone. Having a recruitment specialist on your side can make your job search more effective, efficient and enjoyable.  

  • Find someone who is in your corner. You want a recruiter you can trust. When you partner with Search, your dedicated consultant will support you throughout the whole process, from tailored career advice to support after you’ve accepted an offer. They’ll be there to guide and inspire you, provide tools and resources to give you the motivation to keep moving forward, offer industry insight and keep you up to date with emerging trends.
  • Benefit from industry knowledge. Our recruitment consultants are specialists in their field.  Many worked in their chosen specialism before moving into recruitment, so they understand the needs of candidates and businesses in their sector. This means they’re uniquely placed to match the right people with the right employers.  
  • Gain access to the hidden job market. Not all roles are advertised externally. Many businesses trust us to find employees from our database of qualified professionals and graduates or actively search for candidates. When you sign up with Search, you’ll often find about vacancies that aren’t widely publicised or before they’re advertised. 
  • A second pair of eyes. Your consultant is the perfect person to bounce job hunting ideas off of. If you're feeling overwhelmed or lost in your search, they’re there to support you. A fresh perspective can prevent tunnel vision, help you uncover what truly matters to you from your next opportunity and give you a plan on what steps you need to take to get where you want to be.  
  • Choose a recruitment agency with a solid track record. You want to know that your recruitment company has a history of success. In 2022, we placed over 60k job seekers in new roles. We have a 4.1-star rating on Trustpilot and an 87% satisfaction rating from clients.  

At Search, we believe it’s about more than helping you to secure interviews and land your dream position. We adopt a consultative recruitment style; it’s about working with you throughout your career, so you reach your goals.  

It’s why many candidates choose to return to us over and over again when they’re looking for a new opportunity. With more than 4,500 companies actively signed up for our services, we’re here to help you take that next step. Register today.