Posted by: Lisa | July 18, 2012

Riding the Roller Coaster: Staying Motivated Through the Job Search Process

It’s after midnight and you just put the finishing touches on your resume. Your heart races as you upload your resume for your dream job application.  You click the submit button….and then – “what the *&#@! Now I have to fill out an essay question?!  I thought I was finished with the application…”

Searching for a job is an emotional roller coaster:  Frustration as you struggle to find the perfect words to describe your experience in your resume; uncertainty as you submit your application; elation when you nail an interview; excitement when the hiring manager says you are a perfect fit, and outright anger when you never hear back.

It can be difficult to maintain momentum and stay motivated as you go through this job search roller coaster ride. But, persistence is what will ultimately land you a job.  Here are some tips to keep you on the right track!

  • Don’t cut out activities that you enjoy!  To make time for your job search, especially when you are still working.  It’s easy to push aside hobbies, exercise or other activities that give you energy.  In the end, you are just hurting yourself. Make sure you allot time for the activities that are important to you.   It will help you reenergize and stay focused during your job search.
  • Set goals. Short-, medium-, and long-term goals help you maintain focus and momentum. Although goals will vary from person to person, everyone’s goals should be SMART: Specific, Measureable, Adaptable, Realistic, and Trackable.  Hold yourself accountable and track your progress.  If you did not achieve your goals, ask yourself:  What did I say I was going to accomplish? What did I actually accomplish? Then readjust your goals and routines accordingly. Remember to set goals for fun activities too!

Examples of Goals:

# resumes sent out per week/month

# times I practice my elevator pitch per week

# times I role play an interview per month

# networking events and career fairs per quarter

# minutes spent researching jobs a week/day

Less effective goal: Talk to people in human resources careers.

More effective goal: Talk to 3 people this week who work or worked in human resources.

Less effective goal: Exercise more.

More effective goal: Bike for 30 minutes, twice a week.


  • Manage your expectations.  It’s important to realize that things won’t always go as planned. How will you respond when they don’t? You may need to apply to 100 jobs before you find the right fit.  The job search process is more like a marathon (well, half- marathon) than a sprint.  Mentally preparing for the transition can help keep your frustration in check through the highs and lows.
  • Celebrate the small victories.  Know your challenges and weaknesses, and if you overcome them – celebrate!  For example, celebrate if you are now able to feel more confident when speaking to hiring managers or if you secured an interview with a company.  Whatever your goals are, reward yourself when you achieve an important one or overcome a challenge.  Treat yourself to a concert, hang out with friends, sleep in, etc.  There is a lot of negativity in the job search process, but maintaining a positive attitude and confidence are what will help you achieve success.  Inject some positive energy and excitement into your job search!

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