Gettin’ the Job Done! Motivating Your Job Search

“Striving for excellence motivates you; striving for perfection is demoralizing.”

– Harriet Braiker

Do you know what motivates you?  What gets you going and doing what needs to be done, whether it’s housework or getting the energy to sit down with the job boards, search a company’s website, call that networking contact you met at the party this weekend?  What inspires you to craft yet another customized cover letter for ANOTHER company that may or may not call you?

Where do you get your determination, your stamina, your spark to continue on in this process that can be challenging sometimes, drudgery at others, but often just plain not fun? (by the way, if you need a dose of fun, check out my recent blog post “Job Searching can be FUN!”)  Sure, sometimes you feel hopeful and positive, and the cover letters and phone calls flow like the breeze.  What keeps you going in those other times??

Here are some questions to ask yourself:
  • Does the threat of something bad get you going?  I had a volleyball coach in high school that used to yell at and threaten us if we were doing poorly.  That never worked for me, but, for some people, a little butt-kicking shocks them into action, and that works for them.  Do you need someone in your support network to nudge your hind-end from time to time?
  • Does the promise of something good spur you to action?  A parent friend of mine has told me that kids are all about bribery and manipulation . . . do you need to promise yourself one fun phone call to a friend for every 3 cover letters or cold calls you make?  Do you need to allow yourself a nice dinner out at the end of a hard week of job searching?  If you work well with a ‘reward’ system of some kind, do you need smaller, more immediate rewards (I can watch Oprah at 4pm if I get all 3 jobs applied for today), or, are you more excited by a bigger reward later for bigger goals met? (I’ll take all day Friday off & go to the park if I work diligently for 25 hours on job searching this week).
  • How much does internal/personal ‘feel good’ stuff motivate or reward you?  Does feeling proud of your accomplishments in sending out resumes and making phone calls or networking contacts that might be uncomfortable for you have value to you?  Does knowing you are working hard offer the reward of feeling you are using your time wisely and therefore boost your confidence?
  • How much can you self-motivate?  Would you benefit from a job-search partner, and/or utilizing your support network like a job club with a group (or me, one-on-one — your job search coach!) to help you track goals, and, most importantly, hold you accountable for what you say you want to do?

Knowing how you as an individual operate, how you respond to doing tasks that can be less than fun is simply information you can then use to plan your job searching time to be most productive and efficient, and, to work with your tendencies without judgment.

There are no ‘right’ or ‘good’ ways, but simply ‘various’ ways to motivate yourself.  Most people use some sort of combination of all of the above, and other personal motivators.

I’m convinced, though, that MOST of us are not the “Go Go Go! Just DO it!” super energetic & assertive types that it is VERY common to be told we need to be to succeed. WRONG. Knowing yourself & doing what approach works best for YOU is the KEY, not what works for anyone else.

And remember, it’s okay to ‘slip off track’, don’t berate yourself with guilt if you don’t accomplish your goal but you enjoyed the reward anyway – – – once in awhile.  Simply start again. Trying to find a balance between working hard & staying motivated, and giving yourself a break and being gentle with yourself as you work with your varying feelings and motivation levels throughout your job search is the key to success, and, keeping your sanity and spirits up.

If you are honest, your gut will tell you whether you need to buckle down or relax & play, just sit quietly when you are struggling, ask yourself, and be willing to follow whichever answer feels true to you in that moment.