5 essences to help you stay motivated during your job search
3. Make a plan and follow it.
Having a good plan for the job search period is important for keeping on track and watching your progress: also if you do not get a job immediately, you will see that you have achieved your partial goals and you are further than when you started. You will also get an overview of which strategies have been the most effective for you.
What should a solid plan include?
- time frame
You are unlikely to know how many weeks or months it will take you to find a job. But for making a plan, you need to know how intensively you are ready to work on the job search, and how much time per day or per week you will devote to it. So the first decision you need to make is whether you will work on it full-time, or beside another job. This will likely depend on your work and financial situation.
How many hours will you devote to your job search in an average week? How many hours or days per month will that be? Once you have the number, you can start planning what would be the most effective way of using the time.
- personal goals
Your personal goals should cover the following questions: What exactly would you like to achieve and when? How will you know you have achieved the goal? What will be your reward for it (sometimes the result brings the reward, sometimes we can reward ourselves additionally)?
Goals are to be motivating, not frustrating: they should be realistic and achievable, if you make some effort and work on them.
Examples of goals:
Goal 1: I would like to find out whether it is possible to do the type of job I want also on a freelance basis, and what would be the initial requirements for establishing such a business. In the next two weeks, I will find this information out and decide whether I would be open to a self-employment option as well.
Goal 2: I want to learn how to write a good CV and a convincing cover letter: By the end of the month, I want to have at least 2 examples of my CV that have been checked and improved with the help of a career professional.
Goal 3: I want to improve my Spanish to a level, that I would feel confident about facing an interview in the language. By the end of the year, I will take the 4th and 5th grades of my language course, and get feedback from at least 2 Spanish native speakers on my language skills. I will consider my goal achieved: if I pass the course final exams, if I can communicate fluently with the native speakers, and if they give me positive feedback on my language skills for professional purposes.
Goal 4: I would like to learn more about renewable energy. By the end of next week, I want be able to list at least 5 current trends in the area and collect resources for learning more about each of them (which I will include in my plan for the next month).
- many different ideas how you could work towards the goals
Human brains work in such a way that choosing from several options is much easier for us than planning one effective activity directly. For that reason, before you plan your activities for the next month, I would recommend you to think of as many ideas as you can on what you could do to achieve your goals.
For each goal, write down several ideas how you could work towards it. You can be choosing from them later on.
- plan for the next month
Have a look at the goals you have defined. Which of them seem to be the most important and urgent at the same time? What would be good to start with and to work on over the next month?
Choose some of the ideas you have had about how to work towards the goals. Plan each individual activity for the next month in more detail: what exactly are you going to do – and when, and how? What are your goals within the activities for this month? How will you know that you have achieved those goals? How will you reward yourself when you achieve them?
Crosscheck once again whether you have planned a reasonable amount of time for the activities. Take into consideration how much time you have decided to devote to the work per week. It is good to make the plan challenging – the more challenging it is, the better you will feel when you achieve the goals. However, it is equally important to keep the plan time-realistic. If you know at the beginning that you cannot fulfil the tasks, you will not be motivated to work on them, and the plan has thus missed its purpose. Plan it in such a way that the goals are achievable if you make a serious effort. Such a plan will be motivating and it will make you feel good about your progress.