Stay Motivated in the Internship or Job Search

By: Ellen (career counselor & guest blogger)

You may be one of the many recent college grads who are still looking for that great first out-of-college-big-kid job. Your motivation to keep up with the search may be failing as you look longingly at the beautiful weather outside or if your email inbox is filled with auto response emails saying thanks, but no thanks. You may be on month 6 of the search and just out of ideas of where to go next. Well, today’s post is for you. Also, if you happen to be in the middle of an internship search, this advice applies to you as well. Any time is says “job” search, you can input “intern.”

I did some intense research (by intense, I mean I went to Google) and looked for articles about staying motivated in the job search. I typed “stay motivated in job search” into Google and got 15.5 million results. That’s a lot of advice to take in. Ultimately, staying motivated in your search is really up to you. Each of us is motivated by different things and what works for me may not also work for you. My goal is to share some of the ways I have stayed motivated during job searches and hope that one or two of the ideas may work for you. I actually still use a lot of these methods in my regular day-to-day work. And honestly, if your search is suffering because you’re not motivated, trying something different won’t do too much harm.

Stay motivated

Okay, so here’s a quick list of things I do/use to stay motivated:

  • Drink my morning coffee to start the day off right
  • Make a task list – for the day and big picture
  • Listen to music – different playlists for different moods
  • Surround myself with my goals and motivational quotes and images
  • Change up my location
  • Move, run errands, exercise (give yourself a break once in awhile)
  • Do different things throughout the day
  • Use short chunks of time to maximize productivity
  • Write in color and/or in a fun notebook
  • Call Mom (or another person who gives great pick-me-up pep talks)
  • Use a work/reward system

Now to highlight a couple of these items.

Do different things throughout the day and make a task list. These two items can really go well together. Figure out what you want and need to accomplish for the day, week, and month. This will help you to figure out what to do in the immediate future and also sketch out the big picture of what’s going on. Personally, I use a paper planner for big picture stuff of things going on and also projects I am in the middle of. I use the task list in my Momentum for Chrome app on my computer for my daily tasks. Once you figure out what you would like to accomplish for the day, don’t spend all your time on one thing. Basically, don’t spend all your time on Indeed. If you’re not finding anything on Indeed, hop over to LinkedIn. Here are a few ideas of different things you could plan for your day:

  • Job search for a set amount of time. The timer on my phone and I are good friends. Set your timer for 30 minutes and look for jobs. If you find one that is interesting and you want to apply for it, save it. Worry about applying for positions later. Setting a specific amount of time for a specific activity allows you to maximize your productivity.
  • Spend some time on LinkedIn. Reaching out to connections, contributing to a group or two, searching for jobs, connecting with someone new, and researching what alumni from your institution are doing are just a few things you could do on LinkedIn. Sample goal: connect with three new people this week.
  • Have a coffee meeting or informational interview to learn more about a specific profession or company.
  • Attend local networking events or participate in a young professionals group.
  • Apply for jobs. Yeah, you’ve got to eventually spend some time applying for positions.
  • Research different career paths that go with your college degree and/or look interesting to you.

Change up location. Treat your job search as if it were your job. Get dressed, leave the house, and go be productive. Do not stay in your pjs all day. You will not be productive nor motivated to get anything done. Your location can be different each day based on how okay you are with different noise levels. Personally, I like going to coffee shops. You can also check out libraries, a local college campus, or other locations that have wi-fi and don’t mind you sitting there for a while.

Use a work/reward system. Accomplish a set number of items on your task list? Treat yourself. Sample work/reward system: apply for 10 jobs and treat yourself a coffee from Starbucks, Caribou, or your favorite local coffee spot. Just be leery of treating yourself to something that could easily suck you in for hours (i.e. Netflix, Pinterest, Instagram, video games, etc.). If you do treat yourself with something like this, break out the timer again.

As I said at the beginning, staying motivated is really something you need to figure out for yourself. My advice is if even in the big picture things aren’t going great, set up a system where you can be motivated for accomplishing smaller tasks on your list. Try not to let the one big thing get you down. Eventually, things do work themselves out.

Of Possible Interest: 

Photo Source: Unsplash| Morgan Sessions

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