This feature was written by Freelance Journalist Georgina Lawton… 

It’s a certain fact that at some point in your life, you’ll be without a job. You, my friend, will be jobless. Now whether that’s because of a big career change, or because you’ve just graduated from college, or university, or simply because it’s the summer or Christmas holidays, I can’t say. But I do know that there will come a point when you’ll feel a bit flat, because you’ll be  unemployed.

Of course it’s fine not to be busy for a bit, and you should celebrate the gaps in activity as and when they happen; relish all that extra time you have to think (even if it is in your pajamas). Bask in your past achievements and enjoy the time you have in which to plot the next big, exciting chapter of your life.  Definitely do all those things. But also devote some serious time to obtaining your next role, because unfortunately, a job won’t just land in your lap. And if your idea of job hunting involves getting up at 3pm and having a little scroll on Indeed.com before firing off a few lazy emails, well, you may need to try a little harder.

Here are 6 ways to stay motivated and productive during the search.

Put Your Internet Sleuthing To Good Use

We all know that in your spare time, your online stalking skills can be used for good or evil; an example of the latter being your uncanny ability to find the name of your ex’s new girlfriend’s pet in a matter of minutes, using only Google+. But what if things were…different? Better, even. You could actually apply what you’ve learned in the School Of Sleuth to help you get a job (hear me out). You could, in fact, reach out to your career heroes on Twitter or LinkedIn, strike up a conversation and build a sort of e-relationship. To do this, you can first flatter them (everyone likes their work being complimented), then ask them for a couple of career tips and once you’ve got their email address, request an internship or interview. You’d be surprised at how often this works!

Seek Feedback From Others

Ok, so emailing your old boss or personal tutor may not sound like the most enjoyable way to keep yourself on track during the job hunt, but it can be super useful. If you feel like you’re trying everything and getting nowhere, get in contact with someone who’s worked with you before. Ask them for feedback on your work style, help with your cover letter or CV, or simply for some career advice. They’ll probably be able to offer some worthwhile words of encouragement as well as help you pinpoint why those rejection letters keep pouring in. So be brave and go ask them for some help, because chances are if they do respond, they’ll be very honest with you…

Make The Mother Of All Google Docs

Someone wise and older once said; “failure to prepare is preparing to fail” and it makes sense when you think about it. If you don’t know what you want out of your job hunt, you won’t stay motivated throughout the process. Create a super-plan on Google docs and chart all the places you want to work, all the people you’ve spoken to and all the places you’ve actually applied to. Be sure to keep a log of any responses or feedback you get from your applications to help you keep that momentum going  - and colour code it. Always colour code.

Volunteer

All that free time can be overwhelming, so why not fill some of it by helping others and adding something new to your CV in the process? Google “volunteer opportunities UK” to find out what’s near you or find your local volunteer centre with the VCVO. Volunteering is a great way to give back and stay productive during an employment gap.

Set Yourself Realistic Goals

Creating a realistic action plan of what you want (maybe within the Google doc!) will help you  see what progress you’re making with your job hunt. Outline what you’d like to achieve in the first, second and third weeks of your job hunt and what kind of role you think you’d like overall, and be prepared to review your goals at the end of the first three weeks. Remember to try and keep your expectations real – job hunting is definitely hard! You shouldn’t expect to get your dream role within a few days and unfortunately not all companies will reply to your applications or give you feedback (so not fair, we know).

Surround Yourself With Inspiration

Whether it’s starting each day with a TEDx talk, signing yourself up to receive motivational quotes straight to your email inbox, or reading helpful and inspiring career features from a highly skilled writer (ahem), fine-tuning your surroundings to emulate success which help you achieve it even faster, so find some sources of inspiration and refer back to them in your darker days.

Happy hunting!

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