Staying motivated in a frustrating job hunt can be extremely difficult for anyone. How is it though, when faced with a challenge or adversity, that some people seem to get stuck and unable to move on, whilst others seem to bounce back from difficult events much more quickly than others?

Psychologists have long studied the ability to ‘bounce back’ even when the odds seem stacked against us and have come up with a label you may be familiar with: resilience.

Resilience is about knowing how to cope in spite of setbacks, barriers or limited resources. Resilience is a measure of how much you want something and how much you are willing and able, to overcome obstacles to get it. We are all equipped to be resilient, but it is a personal skill that needs to be worked on and developed.

So, what can you do to stay motivated while searching for job?

Develop resilience

There is a tendency to view a job search solely as a means to an end.  Conduct a job search, go through an application process and get a job.  Landing a job is of course the primary purpose of a job search, but there are a host of benefits that we can gain from facing the challenges of difficult times. 

Immersing yourself fully in a job search allows you to develop a range of skills that have the potential to expose you to opportunities you never imagined.  Resilience is a skill that comes in handy during a job search as you are pretty much guaranteed to face multiple setbacks. It is also a skill in high demand by employers.

Luckily, the job search process itself can help you develop resilience. Success in a job search, and in day to day life, comes from our ability to pick ourselves up and move quickly past disappointments. This may sound daunting, but there are some simple strategies that you can implement to build on your resilience levels.

Be proactive in your job search

  • Often it can seem that the much of the job search process is out of your control but being an active participant builds confidence.
  • Don’t just spend your day hidden behind a keyboard sending out generic CVs. Research employers and the roles they are offering. Tailor your applications.
  • Get involved in online networking opportunities, webinars and forums where you can build your profile, develop new skills and keep yourself informed.
  • Stay in touch with the industries, professions and contacts that you know. Research sectors that are still doing well during the pandemic and look for opportunities where your skill set is transferable.
  • Make sure you keep in touch with your recruitment consultant, build a relationship, comment on their social media posts and blogs. Demonstrate your ability to get past disappointments.
  • Have a routine
  • Most jobs have a routine and a job search is no different.  Plan your day, dress for work, have a start time, break times and a finish time. If you don’t have a routine you can soon find that days have passed without any real progress.
  • Whatever you schedule, try to stick to your plan.  It is one of the things you can control, it is more productive and helps you move closer to your goal.


Looking for work can be emotionally and physically draining. Find something you enjoy doing and make time every day to do it. Don’t become a ‘couch potato’ or allow you routine to be built around day time TV.  Eat well and exercise. Allow your brain some time to switch off,  revive itself and get back to the task with more energy.

Watch your language

Our brains are hard-wired to think the worst and to notice the bad.  It’s why bad news sells newspapers. Resilient people recognise that the words they use can have a huge impact on their mood, their job hunting productivity and their ability to make the best impression.

It’s too easy to tell yourself that there are no jobs or that ‘I’m not going to get the job” when you make an application or get an interview. The problem is that the words we use are followed by actions, or in the case of negative words, inaction. “I can’t” leads to not trying and becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Changing the words we use can have an immediate and positive effect.  Just a simple “I can do this” will have an impact on your actions and performance.

Learn to handle rejection

A job search in normal times can mean you will receive more rejections than offers. Be realistic. If you send out 100 speculative CVs you are likely to receive a very high level of rejection and rejection on that scale can feel demoralising.

Try to apply for roles where you feel you would be a good match with your skills and experience and that you would actually accept if offered.

Remember that job offers are sometimes made on the smallest of details.  Failing to get a second interview or a job offered is never a personal attack or a suggestion that you have some fatal flaw.  You just didn’t win this time, so dust yourself off and look for the next opportunity.

Ask for feedback

Resilient people are always learning.  They want to do better next time so actively seek feedback from interviewers and their recruitment consultants. Rebounding from setbacks isn’t easy even for the most positive of people. Fortunately, resilience is a skill that can be developed and strengthened over time.

Although job searching can seem tough, you can take comfort in the fact that at the end of it, you will not only end up with a job, but you will have developed life skills and skill set that employers value.  Overcoming setbacks gives you the confidence needed to pursue alternate avenues, and to open those doors that were temporarily closed to you. We all have something to offer that someone else wants.

The team here at First Base is always here to help. If you want advice or support to help you find the job you are looking or just someone to talk to about finding work, please contact us on 01453 755 330 via or via our chat function at