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Confidence, Motivation and Mental Health

Looking for a job can be challenging – it takes time and there will be setbacks.

But you need to keep at it because finding the right job can be life changing – the money, the sense of achievement, the new skills and the new friends.

Looking after your mental health while you’re jobseeking is really important. If you stay positive and believe in yourself, job search won’t feel like a burden, you’ll be more likely to stick at it, and potential employers will see the best of you.

Here are some tips on how to look after your mental wellbeing, build your confidence and stay motivated.

Remember what you’re good at

  • When you start looking for a job make a list of what you are good at and the things you enjoy. It gets you thinking about what you can offer an employer, and it will help you build your self-belief.
  • Ask people who know you well for their suggestions – it’s a great way to get some positive feedback.
  • Return to your list regularly. Add to it if you remember more things you’re good at or someone says something positive about you.
  • If you have a setback, read the list again to remind yourself of all the things you do well.

Have a job goal

  • Work out your job goal, that is, what sort of job you want.
  • Having a clear goal will help to keep you motivated and focused.
  • Keep it realistic. If your goal is unrealistic, you’re less likely to achieve it and that will drag you down.

Be flexible and proactive

  • Having a specific job goal doesn’t mean you should rule out every other opportunity. If your ideal job isn’t coming up right now, you can look at something else.
  • Being proactive and keeping your job search moving is better than sitting and waiting.
  • This doesn’t mean you should be applying for any and every job you see. Be smart and look for opportunities that can help you get the skills and experience you’ll need when the ideal job comes along.
  • Find out more about job goals and planning your job search with our 7 steps to success.

Be good to yourself

  • We all have times when we think we can’t do something. It’s a natural part of life. But that’s not a reason to treat yourself unfairly.
  • For every negative, think of a positive. Ask yourself: ‘Would I say these negative things to a friend?’ Probably not. You’re much more likely to say something upbeat and encouraging. Treat yourself in the same way.
  • Reward yourself if you’ve had a success. It doesn’t matter how big or small the success, it’s important to give yourself a treat and say, ‘well done me’.
  • Take care of your physical health. This can help your mental wellbeing. Try to get enough sleep – not too much, not too little. Build exercise and fresh air into your day. This boosts your energy levels, encourages positive thoughts and helps with sleep.

Build a support network

  • You don’t need to do this on your own. There are places and people you can go to get help, so don’t be afraid to ask.
  • Family and friends
    • Talking to people who care about you can really boost your confidence and help you get over any bumps in the road. They could give you practical help like checking your CV before you send it or giving you an interview rehearsal. They might even be able to offer advice or contacts.
    • Or maybe just having someone to sound off to can really help get the stress out of your system before you move on to the next opportunity.
  • Expert help
    • If you need extra support and advice, there are organisations that can help. If you’re claiming benefits, your local Jobcentre Plus can help you. Ask your work coach about the Youth Offer (external website).
    • There might also be local charities that can help you find work or can offer practical advice if, for instance, you have a disability or health condition.
  • Mental health support

Challenge yourself

  • Setting yourself challenges can help to shake up your routine, build your confidence and stay fresh and motivated. A challenge could be big or small – it could be anything from cooking a new recipe to taking up jogging.
  • Your challenge can be directly related to your job search. For example, if you’ve not been offered a job you wanted, ask the employer for feedback on what you did well and what needs improvement. Challenge yourself to make that improvement. It could be taking a short course to learn a new skill, getting some work experience or doing some volunteering.
  • But make sure your challenges are realistic and achievable in the time you have. Reward yourself for each success.

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