If there is one common theme I hear from candidates when they are looking for a new role, it is that everyone has both high and low moments, and central to all of this is keeping yourself motivated. Job hunting can be a lonely place a lot of the time, because under most circumstances the fewer people you tell the better. I have met candidates at both ends of the motivation spectrum over the years – people very low because they are unemployed and have been out of work for 6 months or more; and people who are employed, determined to move onwards and upwards with bags of energy, verging on overdrive.
As we are still in a difficult economic climate, I know firsthand how many people are out of work due to a whole host of reasons, many through no fault of their own and who can’t help but take it all personally. I think it is relevant to talk about this subject now because becoming despondent and lacking motivation when job hunting can be sensed and picked up by any good recruitment consultant or internal recruiter.
One of the worst cases I have come across is someone I met earlier this year. They had been with their employer for 9 years and were made redundant because the department was moved overseas. They had been looking for over nine months before we met, and had even contemplated a career change because they only had two interviews during this time, and were feeling disheartened with no feedback from recruitment agencies or employers. It was obvious to me when we met, that they had got themselves into a downward spiral with very little motivation left.
After meeting them on three separate occasions, coaching the person through each interview stage with a client of McGinnis Loy, they were able to find their motivation and energy again. On reflection, they decided that it wasn’t the career that needed to change, but how they dealt with the negativity of job hunting and taking things personally. Fortunately, they did secure a permanent job through McGinnis Loy just one month later, and they have not looked back since.
So, how can you keep yourself motivated during what is still a difficult job market ? These ideas have come from working with the person described above, and I am sure there are many more which could be added, so let me know of any experiences or ideas you have that could help others.
1. Be positive and focus on what you can do, not what you can’t – Everyone will feel frustrated at some point during their job search, but like the lottery, you cannot expect to win every time. I have never met someone who has been interviewed for every job they have applied for – all you can do is learn from each knock-back and move on. One excellent way of staying positive is to remember what things you are good at, what skills you can do that are listed on a job specification rather than what you can’t. This positivity should then hopefully radiate to everyone you meet for an interview, and in everything you do.
2. Talk to a small group of trusted recruiters frequently – It is important in my view to build close working relationships with a small number of recruiters who can give you honest, open and personal advice on a range of job related topics. This could include helping you to tailor your CV, how you should prepare for interviews, help you with research and perhaps advise how to tackle presentations / tests. Finding someone who can act as an interview coach will really help your motivation and help you to focus on your strengths.
3. Set yourself realistic goals – No one should expect to secure a job in just a week, or expect to be the only person a company will interview for a role. By writing down a realistic action plan with timescales will help you to see on paper how you are doing, and will show you what you have achieved to date. Be prepared to review your goals after a few weeks or months, and adjust them if necessary. Setting goals is critical in the job hunting process, and more detailed information on this subject can be found in the E-book section of our website here.
4. Learn to manage stress – This will be obvious to most people, but the less stress you have in your life, the easier life should be. From a job hunting perspective, in order to keep motivated and energised, try to manage your stress levels as best you can. The obvious things to do include healthy eating, exercise, managing your time and workload effectively, and being able to de-stress by having hobbies or other non-work activities.
5. Prepare, plan and perform at interviews – I talk about this all the time in my other posts on approachthemarket.co.uk, but the more preparation and planning you do for interviews, the better your performance will be (whether you are going to see a recruiter or a potential employer). Your confidence should grow the more interviews you go to, and with more confidence comes higher levels of motivation.
6. Get interview feedback and use it wisely – A word of advice here though, remember that some people and some companies you will never be able to please, not matter how well you think you did during an interview. Do take feedback seriously and use the positive feedback to keep you motivated. If you said something or did something in an interview that you shouldn’t of, and this is fed back to you, remember not to do it next time. Don’t dwell on not receiving feedback though, because some companies don’t call me or give me feedback on every candidate they have seen, only the ones they are interested in pursuing to the next interview stage.
7. Don’t give up – Patience is a virtue, so don’t expect too much too soon. Finding a new job can be a full time job in it’s own right, so you will need to devote a lot of time and effort to your job search, and keep pursuing it. Even if you do get low at times, don’t give up – keep thinking positively that the next application you complete could be the next job for you. Just like buses, another job opportunity will come along, it is just a matter of timing and being patient.