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Insights: How to Stay Motivated When Job Hunting

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Ask the Expert! Through WISE Insights,Connect with knowledgeable experts to receive honest and thoughtful answers to your career-related questions, or read about challenges your peers are facing.


Submitted by: WISE San Francisco/Bay Area member | 6-15 years professional experience

Having been laid off eight months ago, I've been on the job hunt without success. I'm continuing to network, volunteer and do contract jobs in the interim. However, the constant stream of "thanks, but you're not exactly what we're looking for" is disheartening. Do you have tips for staying motivated and optimistic through months of what feels like rejection after rejection?


Self-management is difficult during the best of times. In your situation, it is critical that you don’t read more into the responses you’re receiving than there is. Are they really “rejecting” you? Personalizing responses is common, but unhelpful.

We naturally create interpretations of events that reflect our biases and beliefs. Our first inclination is to create a negative interpretation of disparate facts, and that creates an emotional reaction. In your situation, this may translate to thinking things like “I’ll never get a job” or “I’m going to have to make major compromises to even get hired” when you don’t get the response you desire. You have no proof that either of those statements is true.

The next time you find yourself thinking this way, stop! Instead, look for positive or neutral reasons why a potential employer is not responding. Perhaps the job specs have changed, maybe there is a crisis within the company that has become a priority, or maybe the person you’re dealing with is buried under tons of email. All of these scenarios are as likely, if not more likely, than one that assumes you are not worthy — and they don’t waste your mental or emotional energy.

Consciously choose an interpretation of events that empowers you so that you can act more effectively with less energy. Remember, the one area in your life where you have complete control is in how you choose to react and respond to the events in your life. Good luck!

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Amanda Mitchell

About Amanda Mitchell

Amanda Mitchell, Corporate Navigator at Our Corporate Life, helps people just like you find what they love to do so they can have more of it in their work life. You'll be happier, your employer will be happier and ultimately corporate suffering will be reduced.

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