May 15, 2017

Job Search Motivation: Seven Tips to Stay Positive While Searching for Your Dream Job

By: Alyson Garrido

You’re a rock star. You get things done. You are always there to help a friend or colleague. Drive is your middle name. No one would ever dare to call you unmotivated!

Now you’re motivated to change jobs. Let’s do this, sister. You are ready to rock your job search and you have laid the foundation for success. Even when you do all the right things, there may be a moment or two when that motivation wanes ever so slightly. During those times, check out these seven tips to stay motivated and keep pushing ahead to get that dream job. It’s just around the corner.

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Create a schedule. It’s so easy to feel like every moment that you’re not working, you should be job hunting. Job search is about quality, not quantity. We’ve all heard that all-encompassing saying that ‘searching for a job is a full time job.’ To me, that phrase is the opposite of motivating. I’m not suggesting that job search isn’t hard work, but it does not need to occupy every waking moment of your day. To keep your motivation up, try scheduling a few hours at a time that are solely dedicated to job search. You can be as specific as you want; some people reserve 2 hours twice a week, while others have specific times during which they send networking emails and another time reserved for submitting applications. Find what works for you to focus on your search and give yourself permission to not work on job search outside of these times.  Staying balanced is key to showing up as the best version of yourself during job interviews and networking meetings.

Spot negative self-talk. Tune in to your demotivating self-talk. Here are some common negative thoughts that regularly creep in for job seekers and what to say instead.

Instead of: I don’t know anyone who can help me.  

Say this: My network is growing and will connect me to interesting opportunities.


Instead of: I don’t have all of the qualifications, so I won’t apply.

Say this: I can do this job and will share the reasons why.


Instead of: Networking feels fake.

Say this: Networking is essential to build meaningful relationships and support my job search.


Instead of: I hate asking people for things.

Say this: I am an outstanding employee and companies can’t hire me and use my experience if they don’t know I’m available.


Instead of: Nothing is working.

Say this: Every small step gets me closer to my dream job.


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Prepare interview stories

Why scramble when you schedule your interview? You can start preparing for your interviews now. Make a list of stories that you’d want to share in an interview – a proud accomplishment, a team victory, a challenging customer or successful product launch. Put these stories in SOAR format – Situation, Obstacle, Action and Result. Not only will this exercise get you ready for interviews, it will also bolster your confidence as you reflect on your achievements.

Target companies

Is there a company where you’ve been dying to work? Take a moment to consider why you feel this way. Is it because they have an inspiring leader? An amazing product? A design aesthetic? Tune in to those things you love and find other companies that share those qualities. This will create your target company list, which you can continually update as you hear about other amazing places you’d like to work. Having a target company list will help you stay proactive in your efforts, rather than searching and searching on job boards. Now that you have the list, it’s time to get in front of decision makers at your target companies. Do you know anyone there already? Can you get an introduction? Do you want to send an email or LinkedIn request? Set out to show these companies why you’d be a fantastic addition to the team.  

Get out there

You know what’s more fun than applying for jobs online? Talking to awesome people who can help you land the right role for you. You’ll almost always feel better after a 30 minute phone call than you will after 30 minutes of entering your resume into another application system! Reach out to people at your target companies, friends who have jobs that you’d like to learn more about, experts in your industry, former bosses – the list goes on and on. Once you get over asking for information or time, you’ll find that people are quick to lend a hand, make an introduction and share information. Don’t discount your current contacts, you never know whose best friend or sister-in-law can help you get a foot in the door for your dream job.

Track your progress

There is an inclination to judge job search success by measuring how many interviews you have or how many jobs for which you’ve applied. There’s so much more!  Many of us keep our contact lists and target companies floating around in our heads instead of writing them down. It’s time to put pen to paper, or start that spreadsheet showing what you’ve done. Include the people you’ve contacted, how you reached out and the date you’d like to follow-up. Revisit your lists of companies and contacts and you’ll quickly see the progress you’ve made.

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Lend a hand Research shows that those who help others receive more benefits than those who are receiving help. There are so many ways you can positively impact the lives of others and feel great doing it. You might find a regular volunteer opportunity that showcases your skills, builds your resume and expands your network. One time acts of kindness work, too. You could introduce another job seeker to a new connection, help a friend or even write an article about trends in your industry. The last one will help others through your expertise and demonstrate that you are an authority in your field. Remember, you have so much to offer. Being of service will lift your spirits and might even open some doors.

So keep up the great work, lady. Your dream job is closer than you think. If you need a little pick-me-up from time to time, keep this article handy for some ideas.

Alyson is passionate about helping people advance their careers and find jobs they will enjoy. As a career coach, she partners with her clients to identify their strengths and create a path towards a more fulfilling career. Alyson also provides support for interview preparation, salary negotiations and performance reviews, ensuring her clients present themselves and their goals in the best possible light. Learn more at

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