Motivation can be tough to find during job search, especially during a pandemic, and especially if you have been at it for some time. You may feel like you are on an emotional rollercoaster where you are hopeful one minute and then dejected the next.

Your state of mind impacts your interactions and how people perceive you, which is why it is so important to stay positive.

Here are some ideas on how you can balance the emotional highs and lows of your job search.

Schedule Time Away from your Desk/Computer

Interacting with other people is so important and necessary for a healthy mind.  Plan time out of your home and meet with others for coffee, lunch, networking, or volunteering. Schedule meetings with various people, preferably those that can help you find your next job or can connect you with others. Change up your weekly routine with different meetings, activities and events that will help you rejuvenate and refresh.

Continue to Learn/Take Classes

Continuing your education and professional development shows employers that you are staying busy and are continuing to learn. Learning can be fun and, ultimately, profitable.  There are many places to enroll in on-line courses/training programs.

Check out your local community colleges, libraries, and professional associations in your industry.  Also, colleges and universities offer courses on almost any topic and are available for free on or  These are known as MOOCs (massive open online courses).  There are other providers of free courses such as and  You can also find low cost classes through, or, now owned by

Pick a subject that interests you. While it may be wise to invest your time learning something related to your occupation or industry to help your career, do not rule out learning something new or interesting.  You will be more likely to complete the course when the topic is engaging and thought-provoking.

Learning new skills is a smart way to invest your time and provides you the opportunity to talk about what you have been doing since your last job, during interviews.

Invest in Your Physical Well-being

Eating a healthy diet and getting a moderate amount of exercise each day, will help you feel better physically, mentally, and emotionally.  If you need to make some big changes in your diet or exercise routine, start small like going for a daily 20-minute walk, and build up from there.  There are plenty of free or low-cost on-line resources to help you with this.

Take Care of Your Mental Health

A job search is about mental endurance.  It is about going after that next job, day after day.  Rejection can seem endless, which in turn, takes a toll on your self-confidence. To offset these feelings, find time to take care of yourself. Do things you enjoy to stay positive. Listen to music that relaxes you, meditate using apps like or, read a good book, or engage in a favorite hobby.

This is a perfect time to start a gratitude journal, where you write down three or more things you are grateful for every day.  This retrains your brain to find the good parts of your day. If you stick with it for at least three weeks, focusing on the things and people you are lucky to have in your life, you will reprogram your thinking.

The result is that you will be more positive and happier, according to Shawn Achor, author of The Happiness Advantage. That positive attitude will show in your approach to your job search and help you be more successful.

Re-Set Your Goals

Once you are feeling more positive and confident, it is time to re-assess your job search by examining your skills, desired job goal, and salary expectations.

However, do not do this alone. It is easy to become hindered by the process. You will want the help of someone who can keep you moving forward. The person you choose could be a past colleague, partner, friend, or a career coach/consultant.  Utilize this person(s) to help you through this process.

Set Weekly Activities

It is important to have structure around your job search.  You will feel productive by having a schedule.  This will also help you move your search forward. Your weekly job search activities and goals should include:

  • Schedule a certain number of hours investing in your job search
  • Plan to network and meet with a certain number of people
  • Schedule follow up calls and emails
  • Keep in touch with third-party recruiters and agencies
  • Track jobs you apply to on-line
  • Create a spreadsheet to track all your job search activity and keep good notes
  • Stay organized, as this will help you meet your goals, stay on track, and be more productive

The Bottom Line

To stay motivated during your job search, you want to establish a routine to help you feel positive and productive. It may take longer than you want to land your next job, so be sure to take care of yourself and stay focused on reaching your goal and finding that next job.