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How to keep motivated when job-hunting during winter


Whether you’re looking for your first job or a career change, motivating yourself to job hunt can become challenging and tiresome for many people. Couple this challenge up with dark winter days, and it may reduce motivation and resilience even more.

To help job seekers navigate their job search  this winter with confidence and determination, Naomi Humber, Head of Mental Wellbeing at Bupa UK shares her advice and tips.

Benefits of motivation

Pursuing any new goal requires a change in behaviour. Our brains need time to turn a new ‘reflective’ (slow thinking) behaviour into something automatic (fast thinking). Motivation plays a crucial role in this process, as it can fuel the transition of a ‘reflective’ behaviour into an automatic one, ultimately contributing to long-term success in achieving goals.

When you start job-hunting, or feel like you’ve hit a bit of a wall, it can be useful to remember this process. Maintaining motivation while job hunting can help you stay engaged with the application process and focussed on your end goal. This engagement can help you to invest more positive energy, and strengthen your applications. Motivation can help fuel your enthusiasm for the roles you’re applying for, which can translate well for future potential employers.

Tips to help you get motivated

It’s important to remember that it’s natural to experience changes to your mood occasionally, particularly during the winter months. There may be days you wake up on cold dark mornings and – even though you have so many tasks to get through – all you want to do is bury yourself back under the duvet.

Making slight changes to your routine can help nurture motivation and keep you inspired throughout the day:

  • Set an alarm – for an early but reasonable wake up. You have more time to start the day well, and think about your plan for the day. Also, this will also set you up for when you start your new job.
  • Write down a list – of what achievable actions you aim to get through on the day.
  • Don’t take on too much at once – keep your goals to a minimum and make them small to give you a sense of achievement when completed.
  • Stay focussed on the process – break down larger objectives into manageable steps to help you stay focussed on the end goal.
  • Reward yourself – treat yourself to something you like when you have completed a goal.
  • Take a break – if you feel yourself start to struggle focussing, take yourself away from the task and do something else for a while. Whether it’s a walk outside, light exercise such as yoga or cooking a healthy meal, shifting your focus can help you regain it when you come back to your applications.
  • Change your day-to-day tasks – Mix up your goals each day to avoid repetition and boredom.
  • Don’t be afraid of failure – having self-compassion will help you cope better with setbacks. Failing can be an opportunity to learn from and improve.

Job hunting strategies

 Searching for jobs can be exciting, but it can also be challenging finding the time to dedicate to your hunt – especially when you’re already working. With the right strategies, you can enhance your chances of finding a job that aligns with your ambitions. Here are some effective ways to navigate the job search process efficiently, to help increase your chances of job success:

  • Define your job targets: think of the type of role, industry, and company you are interested in to focus your efforts effectively.
  • Plan your approach: create manageable tasks to bring structure and order. Maybe implement a 30-60-90-day planner to help with longer term efficiency.
  • Stay organised: keep a record of your job applications, contacts, and follow-ups to ensure no opportunity slips through the cracks.
  • Stay motivated: cultivate a productive mindset to stay focused and resilient throughout the process by taking on board our ‘tips to help you get motivated.’
  • Where to search: explore as many avenues for potential roles, such as online job boards, networking, recruiters, job fairs and company websites and internships.
  • Build your skills while you’re waiting for employers to respond take the opportunity to enhance your skills through online courses or certifications to add value to your profile and stay proactive.

Those already in employment may find it useful to use any wellbeing tools and services they have access to through their employer, to help build their resilience and protect their mental health at this time of year.

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