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How can a job seeker find motivation?

April 25th, 2013

A few days ago I wrote How do you motivate a job seeker to get off their butt and do something?

The purpose of the blog was to address a question I’ve heard for years, which has to do with attacking a superficial level issue (is the unemployed person (friend, spouse, etc.) smiling and networking and doing “the right things,”) and NOT understanding some very important root issues.

Read the post to see why YOU motivating them to “get off their butt” might be the wrong objective to focus on.

Since I didn’t really address the issue of how a job seeker can be motivated, let me share some ideas in this post.  Notice I change the question in the title of the post from last time and today’s post:

How do you motivate a job seeker to get off their butt and do something?

compared to:

How can a job seeker find motivation?

I’m not sure that YOU can motivate the other person.  I saw a comment today on a LinkedIn Group discussion the first post saying that the motivation has to come from within the job seeker, and they have to be ready to make a change.

Here are a few thoughts on what I have found motivate me:

Success. I’m not talking about becoming rich and famous, I’m talking about minor successes.

If I have a conversation with someone who clearly thinks I could be a good fit, or is obviously excited about having another conversation (you know those talks, when you both are really excited), I’m on cloud nine.  That is a GREAT TIME to look for another conversation.

As a rookie salesperson I learned the best time to make a prospecting call was right after you made a sale. Why?  Because after you make a sale you feel awesome… you are happy.  You believe in yourself and your product.  What better time could there be to call someone and talk about how your product can make them happy?

Hope. In the other post I talked about hopelessness, or losing hope.  Turn off the news, stop reading countless, useless articles and blog posts and facebook updates, and pause.  When I did that I could find good in the world.  I could see that the world continued… cars still drove down the street taking people somewhere with a good purpose.  Parents still took their kids to soccer games and cheered them on.  People went to work and stores still sold things.

It’s easy to get discouraged and lose hope when YOUR world seems to be crashing in around you.  But if you pause, look around, and maybe insert yourself into different places (VOLUNTEER!), you can see that it it not hopeless. There is good, there is progress, and YOU can still enjoy and contribute.

Help. I remember the feeling of loneliness as a job seeker.  While my wife was very supportive, she couldn’t help me much in my job search.  People at church, my neighbors, other family, my friends… no one really knew how to help me.

The problem was that I didn’t know how to help them help me. (That is one of the most profound ideas I’ve come up with in the last 7 years of doing this… read that sentence again)

Someone giving me a list of job openings, which was usually a week or two old, was not helpful.  Someone asking how the job search is going, then not digging deeper to see how they could help in my job search, was not helpful.

I needed networking leads.  I needed information on networking events I should go to.  I needed you to invite me to lunch to meet your colleague, and the three of us could have a conversation.

Honestly, I’m not sure I was in a good place to understand that (now I get to play Monday morning quarterback).  But that is the kind of help I needed.

A smile.  An encouraging handshake or pat on the back.  Something to let me know you are my friend, and want to help me now, instead of a feeling that you’ll be my friend once I land again, but for now I’m a problem.

If you want to help, help me find success… which usually means introductions.

If I’m not ready for the introductions, help me get ready.

In the previous post on how YOU can motivate a job seeker I address some root issues.  Don’t ignore these. Be aware of these. But if I start to see success (which could be as simple as someone responding to an email or phone call), and I start to find hope, and I get help and know I’m not alone, I think I’m going to be more motivated to keep seeing more success.

And that would motivate me.

What am I missing?

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One response to “How can a job seeker find motivation?”

  1. Maurine Fronckowiak says:

    Excellent plan of action for employment specialists! We can all do those things to help motivate a job seeker! Getting him to a networking group or two would help so much! Thanks for putting it so succinctly.