Photo of how to stay motivated during a long job search

Tangible tips to stay motivated during a long job search – 2023 update

Sometimes it is difficult to remain positive when you feel like you have been searching for your dream job, or even just your next job, for a long time. And it is hard to keep yourself motivated when you receive rejection emails or, even worse, no emails back from company after company.

We talk to fellows all the time who are beginning to feel hopeless in their job search, so we wanted to share the advice we give to help them maintain positivity and even increase their chances of being hired.

1. Find a feel-good project

To start, find a project that will make you feel good. Reach out to your favorite charities and nonprofits to see if they need help. This is both an opportunity to volunteer & practice your craft – two things that are guaranteed to lift your spirits. You can also include this work on your resume and in your portfolio, beefing up your experience and increasing your chances of being hired. Plus, it breaks up your day so you are not spending all of your time solely on your job search, which can make you feel burnt out.

You can also look into freelance or contract work, if you are more interested in getting paid than volunteering. Upwork, We Work Remotely, and Working Not Working are all good places to look for remote, freelance, or contract opportunities that you can work on while you apply to jobs. Keeping your skills sharp and making a little extra money on the side can help keep your spirits high.

2. Embrace little wins

Make your own milestones and give yourself kudos! Too often in the job search, we internalize things that are out of our control. It can be useful to refocus on things that we CAN control, so remember to celebrate when you take real steps toward getting a job!

Here are some good examples of milestones:

3. Put on your shoes

Rather than applying to jobs from home all the time, designate an outside space (like a nearby cafe or a public library) where you’ll work on job-hunting tasks. Not only will you likely feel more productive in a separate space, but you’ll also find yourself stressing less at home by giving yourself a chance to leave the emotional weight at the door. In essence, your job search is like a full-time job, so give yourself the opportunity to have an “office.” You need this separation so that you can be comfortable physically and mentally in your home.

If you don’t want to leave everyday, or you can’t because of comfort level, you should establish a location in your living space that becomes your workspace. Maybe it’s the kitchen table or your desk, if you have one. Try to make this space only for your work. Therefore, it would be best if you didn’t use your bed or couch. This is more effective for both your work and your sleep. The Division of Sleep Medicine at Harvard Medical School agrees, “Keeping computers, TVs, and work materials out of the room will strengthen the mental association between your bedroom and sleep.”


Lastly, it’s important to remember that the ups and downs you are experiencing are completely normal! Give yourself a moment to breathe and get ready to come back strong on your action plan. The job search can be frustrating, but it is a temporary situation and the more positively you look at it, the better you will feel.

Pathrise is a career accelerator that works with students and professionals 1-on-1 so they can land their dream job in tech. If you want to work with our mentors to get guidance on any aspect of your job search, become a Pathrise fellow.

Apply today.

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