10 Ways to Stay Motivated When Job Hunting in Law

Receiving rejection letters, emails and phone calls can be a tough part of the job-hunting process. Worse still are those days of hearing nothing at all, even when you’ve slogged over countless application forms. But try your best to fight despondency. Now is the time for inner strength and renewed energy. To keep on track until your ideal NQ solicitor, paralegal or legal secretary job is in the bag, it’s vital to stay focused and positive.

Bear in mind that no one is successful with every job application. The wise way of coping is to try and learn from each experience and move on. Whatever you do, don’t get frustrated and angry and let that show when dealing with potential employers. A positive mindset and friendly enthusiasm helps make a good impression, both in writing and in person, so don’t sway from the chirpy outlook, no matter how prolonged and painful the job hunt seems to be.

Here are some great ways to stay motivated:

1.    Set written goals

Having a very clear, structured action plan will help get you started. With a list of goals – including companies you are writing to, agencies you need to talk to, networking you will do, career events you will attend – you have a record of how much you are achieving over time. Factor in time off and treats too – you will need to reward yourself along the way.

2.    Grow your network every single day

Expanding your professional network could be just as important as writing applications. Spend your time using social media to find influential people and employers. Set up meetings, or simply keep in touch with people you have trained with, or previously worked with, so that you hear of opportunities, and learn about different areas of the job market.

3.    Find a mentor

Your chosen mentor should offer advice, make suggestions of where to apply and most importantly, give you encouragement. Ask them to help you stay positive, and this way they can let you know when you’re projecting negativity. Talk to this mentor regularly at each stage of the job hunt, and take note of their feedback and ideas.

4.    Spend time with people who make you feel good about yourself

Being motivated is all about having strong self-belief, and feeling confident enough to keep trying. If you spend plenty of time with friends and family who respect you, who like you for who you are, you will benefit from their positive and upbeat feelings about you. It always helps to have a network of friends and family you can to talk to and ask for advice.

5.    Learn something new

Taking up a hobby or learning something new for fun will give you a new lease of life, and could also add to the experiences you talk about at interview. It can be related to your work or something purely for fun – a language, a musical instrument, martial arts, poetry writing, wine tasting. Learning new things stretches your brain and brightens your outlook.

6.    Stay healthy

When you are job hunting you need to be physically well, so eat nutritious meals, keep active, and don’t be tempted into unhealthy eating and drinking habits. Exercise regularly, because whether it’s a long run, game of 5-aside, yoga class or brisk walk, doing so produces endorphins which give you a natural lift – just what you need to stay focused and positive.

7.    Challenge yourself

If you are not receiving positive feedback from your first few applications, listen carefully to the suggestions you get and adapt your approach accordingly. Often a failure to secure a job is down to tough competition rather than your lack of skills, but there may be issues such as your body language, spelling mistakes in applications, over-confidence – that you can easily change in order to improve your chances. Challenge yourself to improve with every application.

8.    Research like crazy

It may sound obvious but research is vital in this profession. You can never over research when preparing for a law job interview. Find out all you can about the firm or organization you’re applying to. Read the trade press, know the market, be up to date with major changes the firm is undergoing. In particular research the kind of person this law firm traditionally hires.

9.    Model successful people

Every successful person encountered failures and setbacks along the way. Professional coaches often advise clients to model the attitude and values of successful people as this will have a very positive effect on an individual’s view of what can be achieved. Think about Andy Murray, Nelson Mandela, Jessica Ennis, Barack Obama. If you can channel their good attitudes – perseverance, diligence, strength, positivity – you can focus on matching their success. Reading biographies is a recommended way of ascertaining some of the right attitudes that have led to success for others.

10.    Know that ‘no’ isn’t personal

The reality in today’s job market is that you may have to accept 20 ‘nos’ before a ‘yes’ comes along. The more times you try, the better your success rate is likely to be, and this is how you should proceed with the job hunt. Set yourself goals and be mentally prepared for a fair amount of rejection. The better you are at taking ‘no’ on the chin, the more professional and experienced you will be. So rise above the ‘nos’ and move onto your next part of the action plan. Always ask for feedback and gain some insights into where you might be going wrong in your approach in your particular job field. Learning by your mistakes can be very powerful.

Alison Clements

ILSPA publishes an article from specialist recruitment site www.Simplylawjobs.com each month. Simplylawjobs.com advertises thousands of the latest legal jobs from leading recruitment agencies and direct employers across the UK. By registering as a job seeker, you can apply for jobs, upload your CV to be seen by employers and sign up for email job alerts.