This article provides the best ways to stay positive and motivated during the job search. It will help you put things into the right perspective, and maintain an optimistic outlook despite rejections.

While applying for jobs, the mind often gets clouded by thoughts like – will I get shortlisted? Why are the recruiters not responding back? What if I am not selected? When will I make it? so on and so forth. With each opportunity that didn’t work out, the worries increase. And it becomes difficult for some people to dust these unhelpful thoughts off their head. They worry too much and for a long time.

Being stuck in the repetitive cycle of worries is a problem. It leads to increased mental activity that causes restlessness and discomfort. So, if you are finding it difficult to stay positive and motivated while looking for a better opportunity, use the following tips to be optimistic, keep your sanity and remain hopeful while job hunting.


1. Think like a thermometer – in degrees, not extremes.


The labels and categories exist only in the mind. Neither people nor life situations are often that cut and dried. So, avoid thinking in extremes to stay positive during a job search.

Thinking in the boundaries of labels like ‘good’ ‘bad’ ‘success’ ‘failure’ ‘unfortunate’ ‘unpleasant’ etc usually results in stress and anxiety, especially when you are finding a job. A better approach, therefore, is to stop labelling the circumstances and allow two seeming opposites to exist together.

Replace the faulty thinking approaches like ‘All-or-Nothing’ ‘Either/Or’ thinking with the ‘Both–And’ reasoning skills.

For example, you can take a career break once or twice, and you can have a successful career. Similarly, you can consider your career as perfect and strive to change it in specific ways.

The habit of thinking in degrees will enable you to perceive the reality and circumstances in a healthy and balanced way. It will not lead you to extreme emotional responses. Consequently, you will experience more control over your state of mind and you will become more optimistic and hopeful towards the future.


2. Remind yourself that feelings are not facts.


A lot of people consider their feelings as real hard evidence of the way things are. But, relying too heavily on feelings and considering them as a guide often results in undesirable consequences.

So, if you want to keep your spirits high while finding a job, do not jump to any conclusion without validating your assumptions.

Balance your emotional reasoning,

For instance, if you encounter rejections and feel that things are not going as expected, do not draw global conclusions from a few rejections. You may become anxious, and subsequently, accept a job offer that does not excite you enough.

Instead, when you are feeling low, remind yourself that your unresourceful feelings may not be necessarily true.

 After all, who knows? Maybe you will land a job sooner than you expect you will!


3. Steer your attention towards what you can do


Stop fretting and think of the things you can do to shine in this situation. Search for alternatives to address any potential problems when you find yourself ruminating about depressing thoughts.

Usually, job applicants check their email inboxes every few hours in anticipation of a response from the recruiters. But a lot of recruiters and companies never get back to their applicants. Thus, job seekers are constantly faced with the fear of the unknown and uncertainty.

In any job search scenario, you don’t know who your competition is, who all are in the running for that opening, why you weren’t called in for an interview, or if you had an interview, why you didn’t get the offer. And over time, the feelings of helplessness, and disappointment start creeping in.

A better option, therefore, is to not wait for a response and create a counterbalance by directing your attention elsewhere. For example, follow market research, analysis and trend forecasts to sidetrack from worrying. Or take up things you used to do and would like to start doing again.

Be occupied with purposeful and interesting projects and activities to make your body and mind busy with something outside yourself, or engage in tasks where you will realize tangible results almost immediately.

4. Accept that the world doesn’t play to your rules


Recognise that not everything will go as per the rules, or conditions you want to enforce.

A bitter truth you must deal with while applying for jobs is that you might not get every job you go for. No matter how exceptionally talented or experienced you already are, a 100 per cent certainty of getting every job you apply for is exceptionally rare.

Only the person who suits the job description the most will be hired or maybe not. 

The company could have already identified the candidate they will recruit or transfer internally, and the opening you see on their careers page is just a fall back option to look for a new candidate in case the selected candidate drops out.  

Other than this, a lot of times the talent acquisition team updates a vacancy on their career portal as per the company’s hiring policy without knowing that the management has no real intention of hiring someone for that particular vacant position. 

So, retain your standards, ideals, and preferences, but ditch your rigid demands about how you, others, and the world ‘have to’ be. Accept and let go of the things you have no control over. Do this the sooner the better. Your anxiety over job search will subside.


5. Consider yourself as a work-in-progress


In other words, hold a flexible attitude towards yourself. And keep taking small yet significant steps for improvement.

While searching for a job search, a lot of people are hard on themselves. They catastrophize every rejection and thus become vulnerable to experiencing emotional disturbance.

People who do not judge themselves harshly, on the other hand, know that they always have the chance to improve.

So, allow yourself to be a work in progress and resolve to do things differently next time.

Learn from your mistakes, and forgive yourself for making them.

Most importantly, strive to improve yourself so that you keep acting consistently with how you like things to be.