When your client is conducting a job search, the toughest thing by far is maintaining their motivation. Days turn into weeks, which turn into months of what seems like endless searching. Rejection becomes commonplace — they begin to wonder if they could create a new coffee table with all the “I’m sorry but we’ve selected another candidate” letters — and the light at the end of the tunnel seems miles away, if not completely nonexistent. Sometimes you feel like giving your client a kick in the you know what, but there is probably more to it than meets the eye.
The unfortunate reality is that a job search means they’re seeking a delayed reward. For example, if they lose their job today, it does not necessarily mean that they will have a new one tomorrow — it will most likely come sometime in the future. Just how far into the future depends on a myriad of factors.
So how does the job seeker remain motivated to continue the job search? The most important thing is for them to experience “success” at regular intervals throughout the job search. Accomplishing a goal can be defined as “success,” so setting small, short-term goals is a way of quickly experiencing the high of achievement.
Another major factor in maintaining motivation is for the job seeker to identify as many job opportunities as possible. This, of course, is relative, but the number of opportunities can be greatly increased if the focus is not for only one type of job — having a “Job A” as well as a “Job B” essentially doubles the potential for opportunities. As long as there is a rationale for taking “Job B” (it’s typically linked to building competencies and becoming more competitive for “Job A”), there won’t be a problem.
A third factor in keeping motivated depends on others. Obtaining support throughout this process is critical if the job seeker is to hang in there and there are a number of different groups they can join — both in person and online. The key is to find a group that is encouraging and focuses on doing the right thing so that an individual can move forward in their job search. Groups that focus on becoming a better job seeker should always be at the forefront.
One of the most important factors to staying motivated is volunteering. This provides not only a way of giving back to the community and experiencing the “success” of doing a good thing for others, it also allows the individual to make contacts and stay active. Networking is a skill that must be practiced — and volunteering allows this to happen.
Finally, the job seeker must think strategically about their career. They need to find a way to link experiences, contacts and activities to a longer-term plan. All of these elements will tell a story that describes them as an individual — it illustrates how they have become the person they are today.
These are important factors but are, of course, but a few of the possibilities that can be looked at when trying to remain motivated. It’s of the utmost importance to find those that work best for the individual job seeker.
Looking for work is not an easy task but if the job seeker implements the right strategies, success may be just around the corner. So go ahead and give them the ‘right’ kick they need.