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The year has started and by now we feel we should have started with realizing our goals set. This is also the time of year it is difficult to stay motivated to get where we want to be. Perhaps you see others landing new jobs, and you don’t. Or, you notice everyone else is actively applying and you don’t.

In the last few weeks, I’ve met quite a few people who experienced a blockage in their motivation, for various reasons. Time to dig in a bit more and share something about the most common motivation blockers when job searching including some times to overcome these blockages.

Why are motivation blockers so important?

Motivation is derived from the word ‘motive’, which denotes a person’s needs, desires, wants, or urges. It is the process of motivating yourself to take action to achieve a goal. The psychological elements fueling people’s behavior include a desire and an urge.

Motivation blockers are keeping you from getting where you wish to be. Motivation blockers can lead to feelings of disheartening, discouragement, or just general feelings of gloominess or even depression.

Job searching can be an exhausting and emotional process that goes with plenty of ups and downs. You will often find yourself without the motivation to do the work necessary (sorry I have to bring this to you). You sometimes run into unexpected or expected barriers and change your expectations or the outlook you had. Or sometimes you are just looking in the wrong direction. I always like to say job searching is one big experiment and we might as well want to treat it this way. 


My clients notice that the things blocking their job search disappear when collaborating with me. Don’t hesitate to schedule your introductory call today to find out more.

5 motivation blockers when job searching

Find some tips on how to overcome them further below.

In general, I notice a few motivation blockers among job seekers:

  1. They are emotionally drained,
  2. They have put goals on their to-do list instead of tasks,
  3. They don’t feel a sense of urgency,
  4. They feel lost and don’t know where and how to get started,
  5. They are too busy with other stuff that needs to be done

When feeling emotionally drained, there are good reasons for it. I served many people who felt emotionally drained because of the endless rejections they kept receiving. They took it personally. You know what, a rejection is never meant personally, it is just a sign of not yet having found the right direction. More on how to overcome this in the next paragraph.

What I noticed when working with my clients, individually or group-wise, is that they find it very hard to break the goals into small pieces (the actual tasks) and priorities these small pieces. Your brain just doesn’t know how to execute goals, it needs smaller chunks to get to the action.

Secondly, most of you think ‘writing a resume and cover letter and sending out loads of applications’ is THE way to conduct a job search. Well, think again. I met people who went to one job fair in their area of expertise or local region and ended up with multiple interviews or a job offer (or two). 75% of the jobs are landed via referral, so think again if you start breaking down your goals into smaller pieces.

When looking into numbers 3, 4, and 5, they often come together or one is input for the other. A general rule is that we need a sense of urgency before we get going. If there is no urgency, why get started now? And if you feel lost and don’t know where and how to get started, you perhaps feel it will never work out for you – this influences your sense of urgency. The sense of urgency usually disappears when feeling lost. If you are too busy with other stuff, it is difficult to prioritize your job search – so no sense of urgency once more. A job search task doesn’t need your instant attention, a crying baby or finding new housing does. I also notice people who want to start and build their business at the same time want to conduct a proper job search – this is also a tough cookie. They both need your full attention so usually one gets more compared to the other. And guess who is losing most of the time? Indeed, the job searching part.


There is always the possibility to schedule a 30-minute introductory call to learn more about the ways I can support you by taking your personal situation into account. Don’t hesitate to check my schedule over here and plan your call today.

3 tips on how to get your motivation back

Now, let’s look into how to overcome these motivation blockers. I already gave some tips in the previous paragraph, let’s dig in a bit deeper into 3 of the things mentioned above.

How to overcome being emotionally drained

Before you can solve being emotionally drained, it is important to find out what is emotionally draining you. We first have to find the cause before we can solve it.

  • Is it the endless rejections coming in? Perhaps they make you feel ‘not wanted’, or ‘useless’ or they are an attack on your self-confidence. I always like to say we need all of you during this application journey, so it is important to be mentally fit when applying.
  • Is continuously being at home without any social network draining you?
  • Is the weather influencing your moods?
  • Is a lack of confidence or courage staring at you?
  • Are you wondering what you are doing wrong?
  • Perhaps something else…….?

If you feel emotionally drained to extent that you feel depressed or more than gloomy, please seek professional help to overcome this. You don’t have to do this on your own.

I served people who had almost or no network in the country they were residing in. We all need to belong. You want to build up your local network as soon as you can; it will boost your confidence and help you to create a sense of belonging.

I served people who received an endless list of rejections blocking their confidence. When changing their presentation, they started receiving job interview invites. When they started looking in different directions, different websites, visited other events, and changed their job search strategy, they regained confidence and got going.

I served people who wondered what they were doing wrong. They just didn’t know about the expectations in the Dutch job market so didn’t know what was expected of them. Once they had this clarity, they regained motivation and got going again.

I supported people in diving into what the cause was of their lack of confidence or courage. Once we discovered the cause, we could think about ways to build confidence or courage. Sometimes it helps to look at other changes that happened in your life that made you insecure about needed courage. It might help to look into what helped you to overcome it. Why not apply strategies that worked before?

How to create a sense of urgency

For my clients setting up a timeline usually creates a sense of urgency. For some strange reason, we all think we can land a job within one day. We keep forgetting the process on the employer’s end is more bureaucratic. It takes time to receive applications, interview people, make a job offer, and so on. Bear in mind that a hiring procedure on average takes 2 months and you know you won’t be at work tomorrow. A company has to be ready for you, as you have to be ready for them.

Setting up a proper timeline with reasonable deadlines helps to cut goals into pieces and set actions toward reaching the deadline. This exercise often creates peace of mind and overview. It helps to perceive the job search as a project you should work on every day, bit by bit, step by step. Just spending 15 minutes a day on your job search, will help you to keep going with it.

So, the first thing you want to do is set yourself a deadline, today.

How to get rid of the feeling of being lost and not knowing how to get started

There are two simple solutions for this one. Get help from someone who went through the process before and gather all tips and hints you get. The second solution is: Ask for help from a professional. Someone like me.

Let me share 2 examples:

  • Tim was in one of my classes and found out he had been looking in the wrong places and implementing the wrong strategy. He started focusing on networking and after visiting a local job fair, he ended up with multiple job interviews.
  • Sarah works in an area of expertise with low demands and where money is always tight and the language barrier was also there. She went to one of my classes and after a few months returned for an individual session. She was already volunteering in her field but knows landing a paid job is not going to be easy. In just one hour I walked her through all the options, showed her some local initiatives she didn’t know about, and showed her some alternative jobs she could look into. She left with an endless list of things to continue her job search with.

Key Take Away

The main thing about this blog is that motivation blockers are related heavily to the way you perceive things. The goal is to change your scope. When feeling demotivated we are focusing ourselves in one direction, with one way of working and forget there is also another perspective, another way of solving the problem. The first thing it needs is reaching out for tips, and advice and to ask for help. During your job search, you want loads of cheerleaders and by doing all this, you will create a whole group of cheerleaders. Just what you need to land the job you desire.

What to do next

Last, but not least, I am out here to help. Don’t hesitate to sign up for my newsletter to receive monthly inspiration about job search, other job-related topics, news about the latest developments in the job market, or an invite for ‘invite-only’ events. Or schedule your introductory call down below to get started today.

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