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5 Ways To Stay Motivated When Your Job Search Has No End In Sight

As I looked out the window and hear the morning rush hour, it finally struck me. That was my life for six years: waking up earlier than I wanted to, rushing to get out the door, and fighting traffic to get to work.

I never thought I would say this, but I miss that life. I’ve been job searching for the last month or so. While I’ve kept myself busy with working on my blog, Cubicle Chic, taking care of some important personal business (changing my last name after getting married has NOT been fun), reading profusely, and taking a lot of online courses, there are times when I catch myself feeling frustrated with how long it’s taken me to get back into Corporate America.

I talk to friends and family about it, and they reassure me that with my credentials and experience, it’s only a matter of time, and I should be more patient.

But when it’s 10:30 AM, and I’m staring at LinkedIn, Glassdoor, and even Craigslist, and all the job applications I’ve sent out, it’s hard not to wonder Now what? What else do I do? Inevitably, frustration sets in, because I feel like I have done everything I could, and I’m still not where I need to be.

To distract myself from this type of negative thinking and the world of despair it often spirals into, I started to engage myself in activities that take my mind off things, but still allow me to feel productive.

1. Create a career mind map.

Are you on the right track with your career? A break from employment might just be the perfect time to figure out whether you are maximizing your potential, or if you have all the skills required to find your dream job. It’s an exercise that helps you look in the mirror at your professional self, find clarity, and identify areas for growth.

2. Connect with more like-minded professionals/individuals. 

For a person who draws energy from her groups and community, spending a lot of time alone never benefits me in the long run. I make a conscious effort to find local events where I can meet with other creative and marketing professionals.

Hop on Career Contessa, where career advice, mentorship opportunities, and industry professionals that will help make you more hire-able in your job search. Find online groups like Professional Networking & Career Advice Group. If you’re a creative, check out events in your city like Creative Mornings.

3. READ.

Any reading, if it relaxes you and helps take your mind off the job search process, is highly encouraged. I like to read books where I find inspiration and learn something. Here are three books that I’ve read recently that have helped keep my spirits up:

  • Rachel Cruze’s Love Your Life, Not Theirs (see a great review here): This is a book about how to clean up your financial life. Rachel is personal finance Guru Dave Ramsey’s daughter. In this book, she teaches you seven money habits to win with money.
  • Kelly Hoey’s Build Your Dream Network: One of the best career-related books I’ve read recently. No humble-bragging, and with Hoey’s credentials and accomplishments, it’s amazing how modest of a voice she writes with. She transformed what I understand “networking” to be, to mean, and how to go about it. It’s a must-read for those of us who know we need to get better at networking, but dread the idea of having to do it!
  • Marina Keegan’s The Opposite of Loneliness (see a great review here): As a writer (I mean, I cringe as I call myself a writer after reading this book), I was deeply inspired by these essays. Like a shooting star, this Yale graduate’s death was untimely and premature, but she left behind her splendid work that the rest of us will continue to admire.

4. Take an online course.

Develop or hone a skill that you always wanted to work on, but never had the time to before. Take an online class, for example; I’m working my way through Udemy’s Writing with Impact: Writing that Persuades. I’m halfway through this course now, I must say, it’s transforming the way I write already.

A few other ones that I am intrigued by: The Strategy of Content Marketing, U.S. History (I know, random, but I love learning things I think I know a lot about, but most likely don’t), and Hamlet’s Ghost (offered by Harvard University), to name a few!

5. Locate your local library and sign up — today!

If you’ve paid taxes to the city you’ve lived in (let’s hope so), you have probably contributed to the maintenance of a library. Take advantage of it! Not to mention that books, magazines, a lot of DVDs/movies, Wi-Fi, and AC are all FREE. I now routinely check out books I want to read from the library first, read them, and if I love them as much as I thought I would, then — and only then — will I buy them from Amazon.

Jessica is the writer behind personal style blog Cubicle Chic. In her early twenties, she has contemplated many career paths, such as a novelist, a physician assistant, a research scientist, a court translator (English to Mandarin Chinese), and a clinical research specialist. Eventually, she found her passion in marketing communications for life science companies. She continues to cultivate her interest and skills in many other fields, such as writing, career development, and self-improvement, and hopes to help others do the same.

Image via Unsplash

  • Kay

    This is great advice!! Love it. 🙂

    • Thank you 🙂 Glad you found it helpful!

  • Jenny Parker

    1 month? Try an entire year!

    • I certainly hope it won’t be for an entire year! Good luck to your search!


    • Scully Wan

      I am in my 3rd month, let’s see how long that takes me….. how did it work out for you?

      • Jenny Parker

        I started job hunting, as in really dived in (at least 3 phone screens and 1 in-person interview per week) a year ago while I had a job (I work in tech marketing in Seattle). I was laid off a few months after that and was unemployed for about 6 months until I recently accepted an offer. I freelanced a little bit during that time, but I spent most of that time applying for jobs and interviewing. Towards the end, I was applying for 5-10 jobs/day, going in several interviews a week. I thought I was going to lose my mind! It’s very competitive out there and difficult to stay motivated to wait for the perfect opportunity if you have no income coming in…

        • Scully Wan

          Thanks so much for sharing!! This means a lot to me 🙂 So happy for you to have finally found something!! 6 months is actually ok I think, as long as you have a quality offer in hand. I understand completely what you mean about “no income”… I feel my hope is dying with every passing day… I recently moved from London to SF, have been working as a lawyer in China and most recently in legal marketing for the past few years. I made up my mind to leave legal marketing because (TL;DR) it is basically a joke. So gave up an offer in SF and trying to break into the tech world. Little do I know how difficult it is to transit from legal marketing to anything basically….So far made it to 1 interview (4 rounds) but didn’t get the job.

          • Wow that is quite a background you have though, legal, marketing, and overseas experience. What in tech are you looking for particularly?

          • Scully Wan

            Hi thanks Jessica! I find it so funny that I am literally doing everything you mentioned in your article, I think your blog is really great – we are all in this community!

            Yea I have done my fair portion of travelling lol! I found my background is really difficult to fit into most of the roles that most of the tech firms are recruiting, because I have done a bit of everything but not so substantially that makes me competitive enough. I am looking for anything that has to do with business development, partnership management and partnership marketing (both online and offline – I actually prefer working with people than data…).

          • Have you tried to seek out the help of a career consultant? They look at what your job search goals are and help you maximize how you’re presenting your information. OR, just have people as your sounding board as you apply for jobs, edit your resume, prepare for interview, etc. I’ve found this to be really helpful!

          • Scully Wan

            Omg haha that’s exactly what i am doing now! I went onto Thumbtack and found a career coach and will have our first session next week, let me try it out and see how that goes. If it works out well I will let you know, and I am sure there are a lot of ppl like us that could use some career guidance!

          • That’s awesome! Best of luck to you Scully!!

        • So glad to hear that things have worked out! At the writing of this article, I’d only been job searching for 1 month. But as of right now, it’s going on the 4th month. I can’t say I have been as proactive as you were, and having a blog has helped too when it comes to being productive. But yes.. it’s very competitive in digital marketing (same space I’m in!) for sure!