How to motivate yourself throughout your job search

Drake Editorial Team

With the start of a new year, is it time to land your dream job, or maybe change career paths? Searching for a new job can be a daunting task, but not if you plan and take the necessary steps to achieve your goals. Staying organized, setting and meeting your search goals, and going the extra mile, will put you on the road to a new job before you know it.


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Define Your Goals

First things first, decide what you want in a job: duties and responsibilities, location, pay, flexibility etc. What are your ‘must have’s’, versus your ‘nice to have’s’? It pays to target your ideal jobs first, and as your search progresses, you may find your goals changing, so revise the plan as needed to find the right job for you.


Update Your Information

One of the best investments you can make is the time spent on updating your resume and cover letter. Alternatively, recruitment professionals know what employers are looking for and can also help streamline your resume to ensure you cover all the important points.

Cover letters make a difference, too, since they add a nice personal touch and summarise your capabilities, and why you are the perfect fit for the role. Start with one of these letters as a template each time you apply, and customize it for the specific employer, emphasizing what you can do for the company in the first paragraph.

LinkedIn is also a great resource for job seekers and employers. If you don’t already have an account, go ahead and set one up. Use a professional-looking photo with a plain background as your profile pic. If you do have an account, make sure your profile and employment history is up to date. 

Use the advanced settings for your job searches on LinkedIn, Seek and TradeMe, including job alerts, and register with recruitment agencies so they can also be looking for jobs that fit your skills and experience.


Get Organised

It’s vital to keep track of where you’re at in the job search, so ensure you record the details for each position and the date you applied. Keep an ongoing record of the contacts you have with each employer, and include other information such as company web addresses and phone numbers.

Set daily and weekly goals for advancing the job hunt. Search for and apply to newly available jobs, follow up with phone calls, and don’t forget to network! Join local industry groups, or business events to meet a variety of people from different industries. It’s often not what you know, but who you know.


Prepare for Interviews

Be sure to do thorough research on the companies you apply to, and research common interview questions to help you prepare some responses in advance. Some common questions have been listed below and others are covered in our Candidate Infosheet No.2: Interview Questions to Prepare For.

  • Tell me about yourself
  • What are your strengths and weaknesses?
  • Why are you a good fit for the job?
  • Do you have any questions?

Be candid and forthright when answering, and be prepared with questions for the employer about their business and the role.

Another tip is to review and tidy up your online presence, and make sure your social media pages are set to private.

Importantly, while you are job hunting, remember to take care of yourself. Leisure days or evenings are the antidote to getting burned out, as looking for employment is a job in itself, and everyone needs downtime. As a bonus, you’ll look rested and refreshed when you get an interview for that dream job.


Go the Extra Mile

It always helps to go the extra mile in your job search, by doing the following:

  1. Follow up on every e-mail you receive cordially and professionally.
  2. Several days after applying, if you haven’t gotten a response, call and check on the status of the job.
  3. If possible, show up in person and leave your business card for the hiring manager.
  4. When you go on interviews, dress professionally and arrive 15 minutes before the appointed time.
  5. Never complain about a former employer; instead, say you’re looking for a more challenging job.

In a competitive job market, anything you can do to make yourself stand out from the crowd will help. Order business cards if you don’t already have them, choose references wisely, and be ready to describe your skills and how you’ve applied them on the job. There are a lot of steps involved in looking for an exciting new job, but if you do the research and stick to a plan, success will be right around the corner.



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