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How to stay motivated during a frustrating job search

Debra Auerbach, CareerBuilder writer

Let’s face it – no job search is a walk in the park. But some job searches are more frustrating than others, especially those that last a long time. So, how do you stay motivated during a job hunt that seems to drag on forever?

Here are some tips to help you stay on track and get that job:

Change things up
“If what you’ve been doing is not bringing you good results, replace or add in new job search activities or methods,” suggests Laurie Berenson, founder of Sterling Career Concepts. For instance, if the only tactic you’ve been using is applying to jobs online, expand your strategies to include networking. “Reconnect with your network or start attending professional association meetings or mixers,” Berenson says. “Reach out to alumni of your college … You’ll see an uptick in new activity that will motivate you to keep going.”

Stick to a schedule
Cheryl E. Palmer, certified career coach and owner of Call to Career, says creating structure will keep you motivated. “Map out your day and your week so that you have specific activities that you plan to accomplish at specific times,” she recommends. For instance, you might spend the first couple of hours each day searching for jobs on job boards, then spend the next few hours connecting with people on professional networking sites, then spend the afternoon researching companies of interest and applying to jobs. Then one day a week, plan to attend a networking event.

Employ outside help
Sometimes when you’re in a rut you need an outsider’s perspective and guidance to help get you back on track. “If you find yourself spinning your wheels in your job search, consider hiring a career coach who can help you focus your energies and troubleshoot any trouble spots with your search,” Palmer says. You can also consider working with a recruiter at a staffing firm, who can help you learn about new opportunities that might not appear on job boards, and also serve as a coach through the hiring process.

Stay active in the community
“Job seekers who are finding that the job search process is taking longer than they had hoped need to continue to nourish their professional identities by staying as active as possible in their fields and in their communities,” says Robert Brooks, a career counselor with 25 years of experience. “This can be done through freelance work, volunteering, blogging, self-study, classroom study, professional associations, networking with other professionals (employed and unemployed), and finding opportunities to do what you do. For example, if you are a programmer, write open source code. If you are a designer, design. If you are a writer, write.”

Get more job search tips here.

Stay active physically
It’s been proven that physical exercise provides a ton of mental health benefits, including reducing stress, alleviating anxiety and increasing brainpower. And if you’re in a better mood, you’ll have a better attitude toward your job search. “Do whatever you enjoy – it could be as simple as going for a walk around the neighborhood – or going to a fitness class at the gym. Getting some fresh air and working up a sweat will make you feel better.”

Ask for feedback
If you’re making it to the interview stage but never getting an offer, you might be doing or saying something that’s causing you to strike out. “If possible, ask for feedback from your interviewers if you were not selected for the position you interviewed for,” says Erin Pummell, operations recruiter at Oldcastle Lawn and Garden. “This will give you an insight as to what employers in the industry are looking for and help you see why you missed the mark that time to make sure you excel in your next interview.”

Take a break
“Sometimes, taking a clean, temporary break from the job hunt can allow you to have the space to reassess your overall approach and clarify what you could be doing differently,” says Joseph Liu, career consultant and host of the Career Relaunch Podcast. “Stepping back provides you with perspective so you can avoid simply beating a dead horse and repeating the same tactics while expecting a different result. So being unproductive can sometimes be the most productive move you can make. Take a brief job search vacation to recharge and reassess.”

Learn why you’re not landing jobs – and how to fix it.

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