Looking for a job is a whole other job in itself. I know, because I’m right here doing it, too. And it’s hectic! Whether you find yourself out of work due to circumstances beyond your control, or you’re desperately trying to get out of a toxic work environment, or you just feel “stuck in a rut” and want a change – looking for a job can take its toll if you’re not careful.
And look, I get it…
Staying motivated can be challenging on the best of days, not to mention the frustrating and stressful ones.
BUT, you know what?
I think so many of us forget that looking for a job is actually a massive opportunity. Yup, that’s right. I really believe that things happen for a reason and that doors close so that better ones can open. When you shift your mindset a bit, and start realising that things are happening FOR you, instead of TO you, amazing things start to happen. So this post is all about fine-tuning our mindsets a little to create career opportunities while we’re job searching.
Let’s get to it!
HOW TO UP-LEVEL YOUR SKILLS AND STAY MOTIVATED BETWEEN JOBS
Life works in funny ways sometimes…
You know when you’re so focused on watching all those job portal websites every day – and you feel like nothing is happening? And then you switch your focus to something else and suddenly, *boom* – an opportunity appears.
It’s sooooo weird.
This has happened to me more than a few times, so I’m a firm believer in keeping busy while looking for a job!
There’s nothing potential employers respect more than people who upskill, learn something new, or start something from scratch. I was once called into an interview just because I started a gift hamper business from home; apparently that really impressed the HR manager. Small things really DO make a massive difference.
So let’s chat about a few ways to keep busy and level up while you’re on the hunt for that dream job…
1. Update your online bios and profiles
The first thing I would recommend, is updating all your online profiles. Because, trust me (and I’ve done this in my HR and recruitment days) – employers WILL use Google search to find out more about you. So, block off a few hours and update your LinkedIn profile (I went onto The Muse and got some great tips). Next, update your current role on your other social media channels. Stating that you’re looking for a new career opportunity in your Twitter bio, for example, is a really great way to let people know that you’re in the market.
You never know who might just know someone who needs someone!
2. Build a personal website
This isn’t a major necessity, but it’s a clever way to maximise your personal brand. It’s also quite nice to add your website to your CV – and it’s an extra way to stand out and show that you mean business! Especially if you’re in the creative field or want to highlight some of your work projects. I recently updated mine and it really didn’t take long at all. I just Googled a few examples and used the Elementor free plugin (this helps you create really good-looking, smooth-scrolling landing pages, etc.)
3. Start a blog – or update your current one
There are SO many benefits to blogging. It’s a great place for exploring your passions and having a sense of purpose (especially when you’re job hunting!) – but, more than that, it’s another place where you can show what you’re about. Employers love it when they can get a real feel for you before the interview. It’s also the perfect platform to demonstrate your skills, knowledge and expertise in a specific area.
Plus, it’s motivating! I mean, you get to research topics, write, edit, find cool pictures and feel like you’ve really accomplished something after publishing each blog post. It’s a win-win!
4. Volunteer somewhere that resonates with you
Volunteering will definitely boost your application. You can do this over a couple of weekends or use the extra free time you have during the week. Why do it? Well, for starters, it shows that you’re a great human being who isn’t self centred and cares about giving back. That’s always someone great to have on the team!
And, it makes you feel really good – like you’re doing something meaningful. Think about non profits and charities in your area that you’d like to help out. These can be animal welfare organisations, senior citizen homes, children’s homes, wildlife or agricultural causes… there are so many.
Find one that speaks to your heart and see how you can get involved.
5. Freelance while you search
Freelancing today isn’t just about writing. There’s a ton of stuff you can do.
Designing, voice overs, researching, data capturing, being a virtual assistant, editing and proof-reading, etc. This is a great way to keep busy and earn a little income on the side. Upwork is a great place to start, otherwise I recommend Freelancer.com. You can also offer your services on your personal website or blog (just add a “work with me” page) and let your network know about it.
6. Let people know you’re looking
Listen, I know this is a touchy point for some. Maybe it feels like you’re admitting failure or something if you let family and friends know you’re in the job market. But, trust me, the sooner you get over this prideful feeling, the better. Again, you just never know who might know someone. And that’s a huge career opportunity, so keep those doors open!
There’s no shame in being honest about where you’re at.
I’ve actually found that when I’m open about these things, people are a lot more willing to help. That’s right – your friends and family genuinely want to help you, but they can’t if you pretend that everything’s hunky dory and you don’t need anyone’s help. I shared my personal website on Facebook recently and I was really surprised by how many of my friends re-shared this to their networks. Give it a try, you may just be surprised (in a good way!)
7. Create daily habits you enjoy
Think of small ways you can add more fun or calm to your day. Because all job searching and no play, makes you a very stressed-out, drained and grouchy human being. Trust me.
So… Maybe carve out 10 minutes in the morning and do something you enjoy, like meditating. Or, use your lunch hour to listen to a podcast and go for a walk. Yes, TAKE your lunch hour… please! And, if you’re home, take advantage of it! Try a gym class in the middle of the day, for example.
Create a day that works for you and helps you be the most productive.
8. Do an online course (there are loads of free ones, too!)
How lucky are we to live in this day and age where we can sign up for a free online course in just about anything we want, in a matter of minutes? Seriously. We are so blessed! I’m busy doing a one-month introductory psychology course and I tell you, it’s making ALL the difference.
Doing courses on the side lets employers know that you’re ambitious and not just waiting around for opportunities to materialise out of thin air.
There’s something so incredible about learning new things and having that feeling of accomplishment once you finish it (and while you’re doing it!) It looks good on your CV, it keeps your brain busy and it looks good. Wins all round.
9. Take care of yourself, first
I should probably have put this one at number #1. Before anything, self care should come first.
If you’re feeling drained or low on energy, it’s going to be really hard to come across as enthusiastic. Not only that, but your health is probably going to take a bit of a knock too, and that would suck if you just happened to be called up for an interview the next day. Best to keep on your A-game then.
An easy way to do this: Block off time to RELAX and recharge.
Jobs won’t run away, I promise… there will always be open jobs, so don’t feel like you’re taking precious time away from looking for one. You aren’t. Schedule time to job hunt and schedule time for rest. #balance
Here are a few simple ways to practice more self care:
- Make sure that you’re getting enough sleep – 7-8 hours at least
- Nourish your body with good, healthy foods that make you feel energised
- Exercise every day, even if it’s stretching one day and walking the next
- Stick to a few daily To Dos – too many, and you’ll probably get overwhelmed
- Create a morning habit that works for you, before the day starts
- Surround yourself with positivity and positive people
10. Explore companies you want to work for
Sometimes there really are frustrating periods when there just aren’t any jobs you want to apply for.
Or they’re few and far between.
Looking for a job is something you need to be picky about. Yes, getting a job is important, but you should also keep this in mind: jobs take up a third of your day, a good 8-10 hours, including commute time. And also…
Just as companies look for the best employees, you too should look for the best company.
So, instead of applying for anything out of desperation or settling for something you know you’re going to be unhappy with in 3 months time, I suggest looking for companies you actually want to work for.
Companies you’d be excited about working for.
Google them. Research what they’re about, look at their website, see what they do and who works there. Make a list of a few companies you’d love to work at. Then, create a job for yourself there. Yup. Send them your CV with a personalised cover letter, letting them know what skills you have to offer, what you love about the company, and how you’d make a great contribution to the team. I actually got 3 jobs in my career this way and it’s one of the best ways to find something you’ll genuinely enjoy.
If you don’t know how to write an email for something like this, hop onto Google – that’s where I got my tips.
11. Focus on making your application shine
First impressions matter. Employers don’t want robots; they want people who have a bit of personality, can work in their team and most importantly, add value to the company.
Unfortunately these days, you can’t just email a copy and paste CV that you rinse and repeat, and expect an interview or a job offer. Nope. You need to stand out, because companies get a lot of CVs!
Focus on what you can bring to the company, not what you want for your career.
A few simple ways you can stand out with your application:
- Create a personalised cover letter for each job (this is your FIRST impression so make it count)
- Keep your CV to 2 pages: Canva has some great templates!
- Research the company and highlight WHY you genuinely want to work for them
- Show them how you can add value to the company
12. Create a supportive network
I know it’s easy to get fixated on job hunting and making your application amazing, but having a supportive network is SO important, especially on those tough, demotivating days.
Create your own supportive network made up of family members and close friends who you can turn to on the “meh” days, and who will be there to support you. Make a list of “your” people. You could also jump onto Twitter and find fellow job seekers. I know I always feel motivated when I chat to people who are in a similar situation. They just get it.
13. Inject more positivity into your day
Looking for a job isn’t easy, especially if it’s a longer process than you imagined it would be.
Sometimes these things just take time.
And, it’s easy to get into a negative space or feel sorry for yourself. Or angry. Or resentful. It happens, even to the most positive people. BUT, the trick is getting back up after these little ‘dips’ and amplifying the GOOD stuff!
Find small ways you can inject little bursts of positivity into your day.
Small things that make you feel good, happy and inspired. Maybe that’s watching a Gary Vaynerchuck video on motivation or buying a pretty notebook to jot down career ideas. Maybe it’s downloading a daily affirmations app onto your phone. Maybe it’s listening to some upbeat music before your day starts. Find what works for you.
Most importantly, remember to be kind to yourself.
I know it’s easy to feel like you’re not doing enough or to beat yourself up if things don’t go as planned, but remember, things happen for a reason. So embrace the challenges and create opportunity. Use the extra time you have – or your ambition to be part of something better, to really get clear about what you want and make things happen.
Even if it’s just one tiny step each day. You’ve got this.
Need some more ideas and practical action tips and tools?
I’m currently running a FREE 5-day positivity email course. Each day we explore a different topic like morning habits, work positivity, positive affirmations and more. Plus, you’ll get some great mindset and self care freebies with access to my resources library. Click here to find out more – I’d love to see you there!