Part Twelve: Staying Motivated and Strong

This is the twelfth part of a series of mini guides which aims to help you find a career you love. They include tips from me but also practical advice from some of the hundreds of individuals who I have coached over the last 10 years, the sort of things they may have shared with friends or family going through a career move.

Having developed your CV, LinkedIn profile and elevator pitch and identified your routes to market, it is essential to have a clear plan of action.

“Make it your job to get a new job. Get active, develop a process for generating positive activity in relation to your job seeking environment and network. Organise and structure your activity, note bring forward flags and follow up flags for network contacts, discussions etc”

“Build a programme (a mini project plan) of how you want to target next steps once you’ve identified what these are. Then set milestones and work through gradually – so you see achievement and keep your focus on your overall goal.”

“When I was between jobs I started every day by 9am at my desk looking for work. I had e-mails in separate folders for each vacancy and a spreadsheet of where I’d sent my CV and a list of the proven job sites to work through. This made it feel like a normal day at work as much as possible and kept me in ‘work mode’.”

It can really help to set yourself some milestones for each day or week. Your ultimate aim is to find a job you love; this can take time but the steps you take are key to achieving this. And the more you do, the more likely you are to find a new position. Each action is important, as you never know which one will ultimately lead to a role, even though sometimes you may feel you are not achieving very much. It really helps if, at the end of the day or week, you can look back and see that you have achieved your milestones, such as speaking to 2 new recruiters and engaging with 5 more contacts.

“Treat job hunting as a project. Have a disciplined day, set goals and milestones”

“Keep focused - be very clear on your priorities that week and be relentless in following them up”

It may also help to set yourself realistic expectations that this could be a tough and long road.

“It's quite possible that finding your ideal role(s) will take a while, and you need to prepare for rejection, something I hadn't experienced for a long while”

“Don't get disheartened when you apply for tonnes but only hear from a small percentage, keep going and eventually you will get what you are looking for.”

“Don’t panic - there is work out there, hold your nerve and maintain your focus. If you keep up the activity and don’t lose heart you will find a role that you love.”

To help manage difficult times it can really help to engage with others; try not to cut yourself off from friends, family and the outside world.

“Talk to someone going through a similar experience. I was fortunate to have a few ex colleagues in a similar situation as me going through the same experiences. I knew they were highly skilled and experienced professionals but they were also experiencing the same emotional highs and lows. It was reassuring to meet up every so often and exchange stories of job searches, rejections, interviews and networking.”

“Being able to speak to people who have done something similar is very helpful, as this makes you realise there is life beyond your current career, and it may even be better!”

“Build a good personal support network. People you trust to speak with and share ideas/concerns – there will be ‘difficult days’ and the road isn’t necessarily a smooth one, so looking after yourself is key too. Make sure you build in time to relax and do other things that are not job hunt related.”

It can also help to give yourself permission to do other things that you enjoy. It is not healthy to look for a job 12 hours a day and you will be more effective if you have proper, meaningful breaks.

“Keep healthy - exercise, diet whatever you need to keep mentally happy/healthy - include it in your everyday routine”

“Do things that you like - a transition in work can feel like the biggest thing in the world & it should be a big focus, but don't let it take over your whole life. It is still OK to see you friends, go to the gym or go on holiday. That is easier said than done.”

“Take breaks - whether that’s going for a walk, catching up with friends, whatever it is as long as it gets you out and gives you some perspective”

“Don’t obsess with job hunting and use some of new precious free time to reconnect with friends, hobbies and especially family.”

“Dedicate a few hours a day to job hunting then spend the rest of day doing something that makes you happy. Be strict about giving yourself "you time" and don't feel guilty about it. I wish I had done this more.”

“Do something useful - I have always done volunteering work and I always knew that the people there were happy to see me, I could add some value & it is something that new people/employers are always interested in hearing about.”

“Don't stop physical exercises e.g. jogging or playing squash or rest your hobby. they are very important to keep motivation levels high.”

This series of mini guides will give you some practical tips and hints from people that have been through it and found what they are looking for. The next one is about interviews.

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