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Getting Motivated During Your COVID-19 Job Search

February 4, 2021

Finding motivation during a pandemic is no simple feat. Many of us feel drained and exhausted from the monotony of sheltering in place, or feel discouraged to pursue our goals during times that seem so uncertain. Though we can’t predict when life will go back to normal, career coach Joy Lin ’09 has advice on getting motivated and job searching in 2021.

Focus on intrinsic motivation

“When you have intrinsic motivation, it means you are driven to do things that give you internal rewards, such as satisfaction knowing you’ve done your best, the enjoyment you get from the task itself, or a sense of interconnectedness,” Lin explains.

“Ask yourself, ‘What are my motivations in life?’ Are you relying on external motivators (i.e. money, social status, validation from your parents or peers, image, accolades), or something internal (i.e. mental engagement, fulfillment, self-accountability, self expression, intellectual stimulation)? There will always be a combination of motivators in your life that drive you forward, but if you can really figure out what makes you want to do your best, you’ll cultivate the grit and focus needed to achieve larger goals.”

“When you share what you want to do and create detailed action items with a person you respect, you will feel motivated to act consistently with what you say you’re going to do.”

Find an accountability buddy

“Find an accountability buddy or mentor you respect with whom you can meet with once a week (or month) as you work towards your goals. When you share what you want to do and create detailed action items with a person you respect, you will feel motivated to act consistently with what you say you’re going to do, and to be accountable to yourself as well,” Lin says.

Recognize your progress

“Reward yourself and #treatyourself! The pain/pleasure principle always works—so attach your milestones with rewards and the activities you enjoy most,” Lin says.

From motivation to application

Once you’ve mastered motivation, finding a new job is probably at the top of your to-do list. But how do you navigate a rocky economy? Lin advises, “Network, network, network. Share your interests and goals with the people you know and ask them to introduce you to people they know who may be able to share their personal experiences with you. At the end of each conversation, ask each person you meet, ‘Is there anyone you know that you think I should talk to about these interests/goals? I’d love to keep learning.’ Accept any offers to introduce you to someone in their network, and be sure to thank them and stay in touch! This simple question becomes the gift that keeps on giving.”

If you find it hard to make connections with people through networking, check out Lin’s advice on networking authentically.

Not every connection turns into a job lead, but you can still take the insights you glean from people to strategically build your career capital. “As the world evolves, there is no such thing as job security. Stay in touch with the market, be agile, and focus on building upon the skills and knowledge that interests you and that the market needs. If you take this proactive approach to your life and career, you can succeed in any economy,” Lin says.

Finding motivation and job searching during a pandemic is hard to navigate, but you are not alone. To connect with fellow UC Berkeley alumni, consider joining the Berkeley Career Network, a local or cultural Alumni Chapter, the Cal alumni LinkedIn group, or subscribing to our career update emails. You can also check out Lin’s advice on how to navigate feeling lost on your career path.

Next week, Lin covers the habits of highly successful people. In the meantime, you can connect with her on Instagram.

imageFounder Joy Lin ’09 Shares Her Path from Cal to Career.

imageNetworking Authentically.

imageHow to Navigate Feeling Lost on Your Career Path.

Images courtesy of Joy Lin.