Unemployment rates are at record lows in many countries, but it can still take several months to find the right job in some regions and industry sectors. Researching potential employers, submitting applications, and taking part in interview processes can be mentally exhausting. Dealing with rejections, particularly if you don’t feel you’ve been treated fairly, adds to the stress and uncertainty of job hunting. Maintaining self-confidence can be a challenge.

The following tips will help you to stay motivated as you explore new career opportunities.

Manage your mindset

The job-hunting process can be a rollercoaster ride. Each time you are invited for an interview it can raise your hopes, but inevitably there is disappointment along the way. This can become a cycle and lead to negative thoughts and self-doubt. Don’t take rejection personally as there are many factors and reasons why you may not be selected for a position. Hiring managers sometimes interview external applicants to benchmark them against internal ones. Budgets and company structures change, meaning that advertised vacancies are suddenly withdrawn. Managing your mindset is key to maintaining motivation.

Focus your efforts

A selective approach to job applications means you can manage your energy levels and focus efforts on the best opportunities available. Don’t ‘throw spaghetti at the wall’ in the hope some will stick. If you submit dozens of applications you’ll inevitably receive more rejections. There’s a risk you may then lower your expectations and apply for positions with lower salaries or ones that don’t fit your skills and experience. Focus on making high-quality applications to jobs you really want.

Focus on your achievements

A great way to maintain positivity in the job application process is to reflect on your past achievements. Think about how you landed other jobs in the past, what work you have been praised for, and any promotions you’ve been given. It may help to write these down so you can read them back in the lowest moments. If you use LinkedIn, refer back to your career history and any recommendations you’ve received.

Don’t struggle alone

Job hunting can be a lonely business. Look for allies you can call on for support, and tap into your network for potential introductions. Many jobs aren’t advertised in the usual places, and a conversation with a former colleague may lead to an unexpected opportunity. When there are labor shortages companies often create jobs for candidates with valuable skills and experience. Look for online groups on LinkedIn and industry forums to expand your support network. Spend time with people who make you feel good about yourself.

Review your strategy

If you aren’t progressing after multiple applications, it’s time to review your strategy to understand where you may be going wrong. The top three areas job seekers usually need to improve in are quality of resume, interview technique, and how you talk about past roles and employers. There are some great videos on YouTube offering advice and tutorials on these and other aspects of job hunting.

Take one step at a time

Changing jobs can be an anxious time. Leaving a familiar workplace and colleagues, financial worries, and anxiety about the time it may take to find a new position are just some of the possible stress triggers. Trying to do too much at once can lead to feelings of being overwhelmed. Taking small steps every day helps to make the job-hunting process manageable. Allow yourself time for breaks and days off to recharge your batteries. Treat the process as a marathon, not a sprint.

Seek honest feedback

Good employers and hiring managers are generally happy to take the time to offer feedback to job applicants who are rejected. This can be invaluable for refining your applications for other positions. Asking your current or former colleagues and employers for feedback on your performance at work can also be useful.

Think of being between jobs as a temporary setback rather than a long-term situation and make the most of the time to decompress and catch up with family and friends. Reflect on how you can be the best version of yourself and whether this is time for a change of direction.