How Can I Stay Motivated in My Job Search After 50?

How Can I Stay Motivated in My Job Search After 50? was originally published on Ivy Exec.

We already know that it's more difficult to say motivated in your career after 50, and there's intriguing research that proves it. 

We already know that it’s more difficult to say motivated in your career after 50, and there’s intriguing research that proves it. 

When you reach your mid-thirties, you’ll likely see a decline in your motivation to get promoted or take on more responsibilities at work. Often, this shift happens when family responsibilities supersede work ambition. 

Moreover, people are statistically the least happy around 46 because they have many responsibilities and limited freedom. This is called the U-bend of life, with happiness peaks at 18 and 82. 

“When you start out in life, you are fresh and excited about the future with few responsibilities, so you tend to be happier. And for different reasons, you will also tend to be happier at an older age: you are wiser, have a sense of accomplishment, and care less about pleasing people,” said Kristi Hedges for Forbes.

So, perhaps it’s no surprise that it can be difficult for workers over 50 to stay motivated during a job search. Some have many pressures at home, from raising children or caring for aging parents or spouses. Others are no longer as ambitious as they once were since they’ve “been there, done that” with almost everything in the world of work. 

At the same time, older workers may, sadly, face age discrimination during the hiring process, which extends the time it takes for them to find employment. 

“People age 45 and older who are mid-career make up a consistently high percentage of those experiencing long-term unemployment over the past six years in some countries… In Canada and the U.S., [workers in this category are unemployed] an average of 27 weeks—almost seven months. Older job seekers are also more likely to be unemployed for longer than a year (63 percent versus 36 percent of those ages 18 to 34),” SHRM. 

If you’re an older worker that’s burnt out from looking for a new position, use these tips to stay motivated during your job search.

Set goals and a schedule for your job search.

If you’re already unmotivated in your search, you may be making it worse by staying in your pajamas all day and procrastinating on networking and applications. 

Instead, creating concrete goals that you can achieve daily and weekly is a smart idea. Specific goals are much more motivating – and achievable – than vague or general ones. 

“Abstract ambitions—such as “doing your best”—are usually much less effective than something concrete, such as bringing in 10 new customers a month or walking 10,000 steps a day. As a first general rule, then, any objectives you set for yourself or agree to should be specific,” says Ayelet Fishbach. 

Collect feedback from your interviews.

If you’ve had many job interviews but haven’t landed a position, it’s easy to think that companies just don’t like you or something similarly self-defeating. But did you ever think that you might not be highlighting the right experience or need a skill level-up?

Discovering qualifications that you might be missing gives you something active to work on in your job search, rather than just wallowing in self-pity. 

“It’s natural to feel disheartened, but make sure that you don’t take rejection personally and instead use it as a way to improve. Seek feedback from the company as to why you weren’t right from the job, and use their input to help you improve for another opportunity,” Hays explains.

Develop new skills and industry knowledge.

Whether your previous interviewers suggest you upskill or uncover a relevant competency that you need to build, dedicating yourself to learning during your job hunt is a great idea.  

Rachel Parnes shares how learning new skills and industry knowledge can be motivating. 

“To do that, surround yourself with people you can learn from. Whether you listen to podcasts, read industry blogs, or watch TED talks, there are plenty of ways to do that, even when we can’t get together in person,” she notes. 

Connect with others.

Sometimes, it can feel like you’re all alone in your job search. But if we consider the above statistic, workers over 45 are likely to remain unemployed for an average of seven months. It’s not the greatest boat to be in, but at least you have company. 

Now, how do you go about finding them? 

“Professional networking sites such as LinkedIn will match your listed skills to available jobs and make related suggestions, saving you time. By joining specific groups, you’ll also be placed in front of recruiters looking for someone just like you, and seeing those recruiters viewing your page will help motivate you to keep going,” Hudson advises. 

Consider pursuing a lateral move or a “second career.”

Are you feeling de-motivated in your job search because you don’t find your work meaningful? The older we get, the less likely we are to be entranced with a position’s prestige or promotional possibilities; older workers often want to find professional work that matches their core motivations and values. 

Decide, then, if your employment prospects are fulfilling your core values. If they’re not, you may want to decide if your job hunt is leading you in the right direction or if the drudgery you feel during the hunt would translate into the position. 

If you want to transition, consider other roles or fields where you could use the skills and experience you already have. 

Or you could consider training for a “second career” that you find more meaningful – an attractive possibility for jobseekers over 50.

“Older workers who aren’t satisfied with their jobs don’t need to tough it out until they retire. People are living longer and working longer. So, a person turning 50 may have 20 or more good working years left before it’s time to retire,” writes Emmet Pierce. 

How to Stay Motivated During Your Job Search

Workers of any age can face burnout when powering through a long job hunt. But for older workers who may not be as excited about opportunities in their field as they once were, the process can feel even more daunting. 

Use these tips to energize yourself to keep you going until you land a position that excites you. 

Are you at a standstill in your professional future? Consider meeting with one of Ivy Exec’s Career Coaches to determine if your application materials or interview responses are preventing you from landing a job. 


By Ivy Exec
Ivy Exec is your dedicated career development resource.