Discouraged in Your Job Search? What to Do?

Disappointing Job Search

Tips to Stay Motivated in a Job Search


During my 24-year recruiting career, there were five times when I had to look for a new job unexpectedly. I am familiar with the negative emotions and anxiety a job search triggers. The constant uncertainty, lack of timely or personal communication from companies, and frequent rejection are emotionally challenging and exhausting.

While I am not a therapist, throughout my job search experiences, a career as a recruiter, and my current career coaching business, I have honed practices that minimize the emotional rollercoaster accompanying a job search. Some of these ideas may or may not resonate with you. You may already be practicing some of these techniques. I encourage you to try a few new ideas. Could you switch up your routine and experiment? Simply by changing your habits, you may experience more positive emotional energy.

And please share other suggestions that have worked for you. It takes a village to support each other during a job search, and it would be great to learn from your experience.

1. Calendar is your new BFF

Structure a mixture of activities unrelated to a job search to increase productivity.  Balance the time you spend on your search with activities you love. This can rejuvenate your energy and mental outlook. You can use your calendar and block out time for your activities as a visual reminder. For example:

  • Limit time on a job search to 3-6 hours daily.
  • Take a break from your search for 1-2 days a week.
  • Every 1.5 hours, stop for 5 minutes. Take 10 deep breaths and check your neck, jaw, shoulders, and stomach for physical tension. Relax any tense places. Then get out of your chair and stretch.
  • Block off time every day for self-care activities. For example, cardio exercise, nature walks, listening to music, a hot bubble bath, dancing, talking with a friend, meditation, naps, or yoga.
  • Have FUN! At least three times per week, do something you enjoy.

2. Accountability Partner

Who in your life can support your plan? Think of someone who is a good listener and wants to help you. Discuss your weekly planned schedule. Plan a call with them to debrief what worked and what didn’t work in the previous week.

3. Sleep

I have difficulty getting a good night’s sleep whenever I am anxious. Then, I think about all my unconscious and conscious evening routines that impact the quality of my sleep.  Now more than ever, practice healthy sleep habits and routines (aka, sleep hygiene). You can find lots of online articles with suggestions for good sleep hygiene.

4.  Help Others/Create Community

There are many nonprofits where you can contribute your talents and skills. And if the volunteer work is related to your career, consider adding this work to your resume. Please feel free to share the type of position you are seeking with the other volunteers. They might have suggestions or know someone who is hiring. Another option is to start or join a group of job seekers whose purpose is to support each other. In the group, focus on helping others. Putting others first demonstrates generosity and goodwill. And you never know when the magic of reciprocity may lead to an unexpected opportunity.


Deeply hope that these ideas are helpful to you. If you have questions or want to share your experience and suggestions, you can reach me at tricia@kickstartcareer.com .


“Every strike brings me closer to the next home run.” —Babe Ruth

“It always seems impossible until it’s done.” —Nelson Mandela