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How to keep motivated during your graduate job search

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Career coach Hannah Salton shares her top tips to build your careers resilience and keep going on your quest for your dream job.

Applying for graduate jobs is time consuming. It can be a long, frustrating, and sometimes fruitless process.


Combine this with the depressing statistics we read in the news about the number of applications to each graduate place and it could be easy for graduates to give up on trying to bag a place on an elusive graduate programme.

As someone that went through the graduate application process myself when I was at university, and subsequently worked in corporate graduate recruitment for many years, I empathise with you during your job search.

However my advice is this: don’t give up. It may be disheartening if you feel your job search isn’t progressing the way you want it to, but all is not lost.
Here are my top four tips to help build your careers resilience and keep going on your quest for your dream job:

1)Quality applications over quantity

Very often I’ve spoken to graduate job seekers who proudly tell me they applied for 20 jobs the day before. While I wouldn’t advocate putting all of your eggs in the metaphorical basket, it’s important you focus your attention on each and every application you submit, and tailor each CV or application form to the specific company you’re applying for.
Firing off huge volumes of applications that aren’t tailored will probably result in a huge volume of ‘no’s, which won’t do much for your levels of motivation.

2)Approach your job search in chunks

It’s not fun to spend 8am – 10pm solidly focused on your job search, and after that long you probably won’t be able to show your best work.

Break up your job hunting across the week by scheduling in shorter time periods to concentrate on it. Doing little and often will also make it seem less like a chore, and you’re less likely to procrastinate or get overwhelmed.

Schedule in specific times for the week ahead that you’re going to dedicate to your job search, and create set small, regular goals.

3)Ask for feedback

Nothing is more demotivating than not knowing where you’re going wrong. If you’re not successful at application or interview stage, ask the company for as much detailed feedback as you can.

If they don’t provide personal feedback, ask if they have any further information of common pitfalls or where most people fall down. Ask a parent or careers advisor to look over your CV to get their views on it. See if your university to mock interviews and ask for as much detailed feedback as possible. You can’t improve if you don’t know where you’re going wrong.

4)Don’t place too much emphasis on ‘feeling’ motivated

All too often I hear students and professionals complain that they are procrastinating something because they don’t feel like doing it. They place a high emphasis on motivation, and use it as a gauge as to whether or not to take action. Taking a small step forwards in the direction you want to go in – whether you feel like it or not – is a great way to kick start feeling motivated. Remind yourself of your overall end goal take a tiny step forward – you’re more likely to take another tiny step the next day, and you won’t beat yourself up for being lazy.

Hannah Salton worked in HR for eight years in multinational corporates, most recently leading UK graduate recruitment for a top-tier City law firm. In early 2017 she set up her own Coaching and Consulting business helping individuals and businesses create better careers. For more information visit: www.hannahsalton.co.uk

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