students chatting rock garden

Taking care of yourself

Tips for staying motivated during your job search

Trying to find work can often feel like a full-time job in itself - and this is completely normal. Staying motivated when you don’t hear anything back from employers or are receiving rejection notifications can be tough - it can be incredibly frustrating and knock down your confidence. So how do you keep driving your search forward? Read on for our top tips for keeping yourself motivated and dealing with rejection to help you stay on track with your job search.


Staying motivated

Set small achievable targets

Finding work is a big goal in itself so to help keep you on-track, recognise all the smaller goals you’re achieving along the way, such as:

  • Researching jobs of interest and picking a 'top three'
  • Writing and sending an application
  • Speaking to an adviser for support


Reward yourself

Wherever you are, reward yourself for meeting the goals you set out for yourself as looking after yourself and taking care of your wellbeing is important and can help you to perform well. Acitivities might include:

  • Spending time with friends/family
  • Making time for your favourite hobby
  • Doing something nice to relax

Write an achievements record

Employers like to know your achievements, but it’s easy to forget all the great things you’ve achieved so far if you’re not keeping track. Keeping and updating an achievements record can help you to:

  • Recognise what you have done well and where you have added value
  • Have evidence to support your applications and interviews
  • Reflect on your positive achievements if you are in need of motivation or a confidence boost!


Reach out to friends, family and networks

We all have different people we depend on for support and for different reasons but it’s really important to identify those who you feel can help through the process. Consider reaching out to the following:

  • People with experience of job searching who could share their tips and knowledge
  • Those in your preferred industry for specialist advice
  • Friends and family for emotional support


Dealing with rejection

If you are unsuccessful at any stage of the recruitment process, it can be both confusing and disappointing. The best step to take if you have been rejected for a role is to contact the organisation and request some feedback (although it is important to be realistic that not every organisation will have the time and resources to offer detailed feedback at each stage of the recruitment process). If feedback is made available to you, it may assist in strengthening your applications and/or performance at future interviews. This will also help you to be proactive in understanding how you may continue to improve and what you can continue to do to enhance your graduate employability.

When dealing with rejection, it can also be useful to bear the following facts in mind:


1. You are not alone

Not hearing back from employers and receiving rejections is common, and most people applying for the same vacancy will have the same experience.


3. Success might happen next time

Previous experience of a no response/ rejection does not mean you won’t be successful next time. Every company is different and to an extent every job, maybe your first one, two, or even more applications hasn’t been successful but it doesn’t mean a future one won’t be.

2. Learn and reflect

Although it may not feel like it, a no response/ rejection offers a great opportunity to reflect and learn - consider whether there is anything that could be done in your next application that could be added, developed or improved to help sell yourself more next time/ refine your technique.


4. Blessing in disguise? 

Job searching is a two way street, remember it’s not just about the employer being happy with their hire but you as well - working takes up a great deal of your life, and it’s important that you are also happy. Although not in every case, sometimes a rejection/ no response could be a blessing in disguise!

portrait student on the beach

Staying resilient

Access and read the following articles for more tips on staying resilient and motivated during your graduate job search:





Get in touch

Visit our career centre

Rosalind Franklin East

28 Guildhall Walk

Portsmouth, PO1 2DD


Book an appointment online

Careers centre