Remaining Positive in your Job Search

There are two ways to look at a job search and the rejection that most job seekers will face at some point: the first is to picture the worst and be prone to negativity when encountering each setback and the second is to look at each rejection as a learning curve, using your disappointment to fire you into action.

Whilst it’s easier to reflect on my experience of unemployment from the comfortable seat of a job, I spent nearly four months applying for work, attending interviews and more frequently, receiving emails of rejection. It opened my eyes to the difficulties that young people are facing when entering today’s job market and the struggle to remain motivated as the days and weeks go by. One thing that I learnt, however, is that whilst it's hard to maintain momentum and enthusiasm, it is essential if you want to land your first job. Not only will remaining positive put you in a better frame of mind but more importantly, it will improve your chances of finding work. 

So here are a few tips that helped me to keep motivated during my job-search:

  1. Quality over quantity: Like most job seekers, I began with the machine-gun approach, firing off as many generic applications as possible in the hope that I might get a call back. Whilst this might have helped in the probability stakes, I found I benefited so much more by spending a little extra time tailoring my CV and cover letter to each job opening. By adapting each application individually, you can clearly show your enthusiasm and suitability for a specific job opening and that is what every employer is looking for in a candidate.   
  2. Be proactive to fill gaps: As time goes by, it can feel like you’re becoming more and more isolated from both reality and the workplace. It’s important to keep occupied, either through volunteering, work experience or even starting up a free on-line blog. These will all help to explain the gap on your CV and show that you’re being pro-active in your job search. Check out Norfolk Can Inspire for more information on volunteering opportunities:
  3. Don’t take it personally: It’s hard not to get emotionally invested in each job application but for your own peace of mind, press send and move on. If you do receive a rejection, simply send a polite email back and ask for some constructive feedback. Most employers are more than happy to write a brief couple of sentences and you can leverage that into your next job application.
  4. Use online resources: When I was hunting for work, I read acres of career blogs and followed more Twitter accounts than I could keep up with but these three sites gave by far the most helpful and honest advice:
  • – this advice comes direct from a hiring manager who recruits every single day. She has detailed every possible job-seeking scenario and crafted tips on how to catch the eye of a recruiter, including examples of successful cover letters.
  • Aimee Bateman: Aimee has filmed a plethora of videos for job-seekers on YouTube and her website She also has a Twitter account, where she will reply if you have any questions.
  • Guardian Careers: This website is packed full of interviews with industry experts and Q&A sessions for anyone, from graduates to apprentices.
  1. Finally, you WILL get a job: If you can truly and honestly say that you’re trying your hardest, improving your CV with outside opportunities, sending off applications on a weekly basis and constantly improving and trying new formats for your cover letters and applications. You will get a job! It may take a year and it might take a couple of weeks but opportunities are out there waiting for you.


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Bu Lucy Jobber


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