4 Things I Do To Stay Motivated During The UX Job Hunt

Me (Melissa) trying really hard to stay motivated

I graduated from a UX Bootcamp on November 25, 2020. Since then I’ve been working on some UX projects, writing, connecting with a lot of really rad folks all over the internet, and just trying to take care of my physical & mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic.

How my job hunt is going:

  • Jobs Applied For: 159
  • Rejections: 64
  • Initial Phone Screens & First Interviews: 7
  • Final Interviews: 3

One of the biggest hurdles I have faced during this job hunt is motivation. As someone who is currently unemployed and left to my own devices to work & create, here are 4 things that I do [almost] everyday to stay motivated during this time of uncertainty.

1. Apply For Jobs Every Day

A goal of mine is to apply for at least 3–5 jobs every day. Applying for jobs is not an easy task. It requires a lot of time and energy, and some days I just don’t have it in me to apply for more than 1 job (and that’s 100% okay).

The reason why I try to apply for jobs every day is because it’s an opportunity to put myself and my work out there, regardless of if I meet all of the job qualifications or not. You never know who is going to be looking at your application, or what type of conversations you will have by just applying.

A wise mentor once said to me that if you feel even 60% confident about a job, go after it and apply!

  • Worst case scenario:
    No response at all (even after sending follow-up emails).
  • Best case scenario:
    Someone looked at your application and they want to talk. You just landed a conversation. Congratulations!

By applying for jobs, you are creating opportunities for yourself. As you’re reading this, you might be at a point in your life where you don’t want to regret not trying (I know I am!). So keep putting yourself out there because you never know what’s going to come out the other end.

2. Check Items Off The To-Do List

My To-Do List for today (December 29, 2020)

Either the night before or morning of, I create a To-Do List for myself. It keeps me on track, and I gain a huge sense of accomplishment whenever I check items off of my list.

One important component to creating an effective To-Do List is having each item be specific & manageable (so that you can check them off!).

If the task is large and complex, break it up into smaller, more actionable pieces.

For example, what isn’t manageable for me is putting “complete online course” on my To-Do List. When it’s not specific, it can feel very overwhelming to tackle. If I were to rephrase it as “complete chapter 1 of _____ course”, I can anticipate how long that might take and find time to schedule it in my day.

On days when I’m physically or mentally struggling to work on a project or continue the job hunt, I’ll put non-career related items on my list, such as “take out the recycling” or “vacuum the rug”. By doing so, I’m able to still feel productive while giving myself a mental break away from my career-related objectives.

3. Create Something, Anything!

I am motivated by growth, and I learn best by creating. It’s easy to fall into the trap of consuming, consuming, and consuming but never creating. So something that I strive to do every week is to create something, anything!

For example, the current UX project that I am working on is a Basic Life Skills platform that I initiated myself. My intentions were to develop specific skills in an area that I did not feel very confident in. Because of this, I anticipate a lot of growth & development as I continue to move this project forward.

Another example is writing this article! I have always wanted to write but never felt like I was good enough. By publishing this article, I gain just a little bit more confidence and motivation to continue producing work and sharing my story.

Lastly, I bake A LOT of sourdough bread. While it may not be UX related, it’s something that I really enjoy doing. It also benefits everyone in my household because #breadislife, especially when it’s homemade.

Two in-process sourdoughs (left) and a baked sourdough loaf (right).

4. Positive Visualization

I truly believe that one of our biggest blockers that often prevents us from moving forward is our own mindset.

From the 159 applications and 64 rejections, to getting to that final interview and being told that they like my enthusiasm & passion but chose to move forward with someone else, it can be really freaking tough to bounce back from those outcomes.

But something that I continue to practice that I learned back when I was competing in Olympic Weightlifting is positive visualization. In both this job hunt and in life, there are a lot of things that are out of my control. But one thing that I do have control over is how I visualize:

  • The type of person I am
  • The type of person I want to be
  • Why it is important that I become that person

Not only does positive visualization provide me with more clarity and inspiration in my day-to-day, but the steps needed to accomplish my goals appear more achievable because I have a clear idea of who I am and a vision of who I want to be and why.

Conclusion

The job hunt is brutal. It’s okay to feel discouraged and tired. It’s okay to completely disconnect from the world today because the idea of jumping through hoops to try and prove your worth to strangers makes you want to cry.

If there’s anything I want you to take away from this article is this: your self worth is not tied to your job or career.

You are so incredibly capable and resilient. You bring so much to every space and conversation you are a part of. As exhausting as this job hunt is, there is hope. Most importantly, there is space. You belong here, and I’m so stoked to watch you grow and continue to contribute meaningfully and passionately in whatever it is you decide to do.

Thank you for reading my article!

Feel free to reach out to me at mho5204@gmail.com or on LinkedIn!
You can also check out my portfolio at melissahodesign.com.

User Experience Researcher & Designer in Minneapolis, MN and master of knocking things over.