South Africa has a high unemployment rate which impacts all its citizens. Searching for a job takes its toll – especially if you’ve been looking for months or years and are still unemployed. Many lose motivation and along with it, their drive to be productive.

Are you feeling demotivated? Here are a few pointers you can consider, to help you stay positive:

Treat work seeking as a normal job.
It is good to have a routine for your days. Make a schedule – and stick to it. Get up early, take a bath and set yourself up for a day or morning of focused job hunting. Being on social media for hours and not using it for job searching purposes will not land you a job! And don’t put all your eggs in one basket, applying for only one job at a time. Go for as many as you feel you are qualified for.

Set yourself some goals.
Aim to apply for a certain number of jobs per day or week. Keep records of your progress. Write down how many job applications you’ve sent and do the same with any interviews you attend.

Start hustling.
Are you a low-key hustler? Perhaps you are a great cook, or sell hair or Avon, or maybe you are an artist? Start doing what you love to regain your passion. It is easy to lose your confidence and feel undervalued when you are unemployed, so remind yourself of what you’re good at! Your hobbies also make your CV interesting and stand out from others.

See more on hustling here and here.

Become a volunteer.
Alternatively, you could volunteer at your local spaza shop, school, church or community centre. This will certainly stand out on your CV and show you care about helping others. Also, it will keep you busy while you gain awesome skills!

See more on volunteering here and here.

Networking is effective.
Interact with people who can motivate you or introduce you to some opportunities that you are not aware of. Attend free workshops or seminars. Don’t cut yourself from your friends, family, and community. You need people for social interaction – and it is often our friends or relatives who can give us good tips for work as well.

Be kind to yourself.
Do not compare yourself to others – we know so little of other people’s lives, so you can never really know what is happening for others. It is very important to understand that we all have our own paths in life.

Keep healthy, active, sleep well and socialise. Just thirty minutes of exercise a day gets the blood pumping and releases those nice, happy hormones called endorphins that make you feel good inside.

Spend some time outdoors – getting some fresh air really does help. Take your mind off your worries. Just like a working day, give yourself a lunch break and use it wisely.

It’s important too that you feed positive thoughts rather than negative ones! Stay away from negative people or too many negative news reports. Rather choose to be with people who encourage you, and believe in your potential. There are many self-help books and websites that offer practical ways to keep your spirits up, and to keep a positive attitude.

Celebrate small achievements.
If you find a job description that suits you – and if you get an interview – this is positive! Even if you don’t get the job, it shows there is work out there. And even if it was a terrible interview, celebrate the fact that at least you were called – it’s a great step in the right direction.

Stay motivated.
Seeking work and not being successful is really tough. Remember, though, that this is not a personal rejection. It is a sad reflection of the times. The South African economy has not expanded recently which means that there are fewer jobs than ever out there.

Of course it is hard to stay motivated day after day of unemployment… But it is important to try for your own self, and also for others around you. And it will also help with any interviews too. If you are feeling very negative, this can come across in your interactions with potential employers. So although it can be very disheartening, know that you aren’t alone – but that there are still jobs out there, even if they are hard to find.

So good luck, and keep strong!

(Thanks to these sites for their ideas:
How to stay motivated (
How to stay motivated when you’re unemployed (


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