How Do I Stay Motivated During My Job Search?

By: Taunee Besson

don't quitQ: “A recent layoff put me in a job search mode again. The last time I looked for a new position, it was really hard to maintain my motivation. Do you have any tips on what I can do to stay positive and productive?”

A: A job search can be an emotional rollercoaster. One day you feel like you’ve conquered the world. The next you can crawl under a snake with your high hat on! Fortunately, there are a variety of ways to temper the low moments and focus on finding your next position. Below are some techniques my job-seeking clients think are particularly useful.

♦  Before you start looking for a new job, put together an ideal job description. Then concentrate on finding the closest real-world match. Don’t waste your time on unsatisfying, “just OK” opportunities.

♦  Develop a systematic approach for your job search. Determine the appropriate activities and approximate employment date. Then schedule things to do each day to advance your objective. Being able to cross items off your daily to-do list will provide tangible rewards on the way to your ultimate goal.

♦  Try using word or picture affirmations to keep your brain thinking positively. Imagine yourself acing an interview, accepting a job offer or managing an exciting project in your new position.

♦  Plan time to nurture yourself. When your career is in temporary disarray, it’s important to focus on satisfying activities such as your hobbies, time with people you love or a great book. Most of us play many roles. Concentrating on the ones you most enjoy will lift your spirits and remind you there’s more to life than a job.

♦  Ask your friends and family for their support. Suggest specific ways they can help you conduct a successful search, from praising your capabilities to editing your resumes.

♦  If you currently have no volunteer commitment, find one. Fulfilling the needs of others can raise your self-esteem, remind you of how lucky you are and offer potential networking opportunities. You never know whom you might find working beside you at the regional food bank.

♦  Join a job club sponsored by a local church or professional organization. Teaming with other job seekers will help all of you stay motivated and expand your network.

♦  Work with a career counselor or attend a job search workshop. You can identify a good career counselor through the International Association of Career Management Professionals (www.iacmp.org). Many colleges and universities hold seminars for job seekers through their continuing education divisions.

If you must throw an occasional pity party for yourself, set aside an hour to wail and gnash your teeth, then have at it. Periodically purging negative feelings can be truly rejuvenating.


Taunee Besson headshotTaunee Besson, CMF, is president of Career Dimensions, Inc., a consulting firm founded in 1979, which works with individual and corporate clients in career change; job search; executive, small business and life coaching; college major selection and talent management.

“One of the smartest minds in the career field,” according to Tony Lee (VP of CareerCast Operations at Adicio and former publisher of the Wall Street Journal’s Online Vertical Network), Besson began writing for the Dallas Times Herald in the early 80s. Having read several of her columns, Lee asked her to contribute regular articles to the Journal’s National Business Employment Weekly (NBEW) as well. Since then, she has been a triple award-winning columnist for CareerJournal.com  and Senior Columnist for CareerCast.com, as well as WorkingWoman.com and Oxygen.com. At Lee’s request, Besson authored five editions  of NBEW’s Premier Guide to Resumes and three of its Premier Guide to Cover Letters. She has also written articles and/or been quoted in The Wall Street Journal, The Dallas Morning News, Business Week, Time, Smart Money and Yahoo among others.

Taunee has worked on community nonprofit boards and committees for over 30 years including Girls Inc., Women’s Center of Dallas, Girl Scouts and Dallas Women’s Foundation, The Volunteers of America and Mortarboard, among others. She was a member of the Leadership Dallas in 1987 and Leadership America in 2003.

In 1994, the Dallas Chapter of the American Society for Training and Development chose her as its “Professional of the Year”. Her NBEW columns were selected for the “Ten Best Article Award” in 1990, 1994 and 1997.  
In 1999, Alpha Gamma Delta, a 200,000 member fraternal organization, named her as one of three “Distinguished Citizens” at its biannual international convention.

Published by Conselium Executive Search, the global leader in compliance search.  

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