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Careers 101

Staying motivated: University of Phoenix experts answer your questions about how to stay motivated during summer and fall break distractions.

Q: How can I stay motivated in my job search?

A:  For many of us, summer is a time to slow down our hectic pace, catch up on our reading or travel, and spend time with family. Then fall returns and with it our hectic lifestyles, with kids going back to school and regular routines. The last thing we want to think about is work. But successful job seekers don’t take a break—they keep going even when they don’t want to. Here are a few strategies for getting yourself refocused on finding your career.

Keep it manageable

Break down your job search into manageable tasks. Begin by researching what’s out there. Which employers, industries and jobs are of interest? What qualifications do you need to highlight and showcase when you apply? For direction on how to set your goals and explore your options, visit Milestone 1 in the Phoenix Career Guidance System™ (PCGS).

Next, get your resumé and cover letter ready to go. Use PCGS Milestone 3 to build a resumé tailored for any job, and Milestone 6 to create a cover letter that stands out to hiring managers.

You’ll have the opportunity to receive feedback from a career coach so you can make these documents shine.

Pump it up

Now you’re ready to take that next step and start applying. Remember, hiring follows the employer’s timeline, not yours. So remember the three P’s: patience, perseverance and perspective.


Although it’s easier to tweak your resumé on the computer and apply online, waiting is as difficult as ever. Remember:

  • You might be ready for a job, but the employer might not be ready to hire you.
  • A short window to apply does not mean a timely conclusion or quick offer.

Try to view this time as an opportunity for growth:

  • Practice your interview and networking skills.
  • Pay attention to your body and your health—you need to be in top form both mentally and physically. Find a workout you enjoy and do it regularly. Read a book, play a game and stay active.


You can learn a thing or two from those who’ve gone before you:

  • Dr. Seuss was rejected by 27 publishers.
  • Abraham Lincoln lost eight elections, failed in business twice and suffered a nervous breakdown.
  • Steve Jobs was fired by Apple’s board of directors. 

Which word will you choose to define yourself? Tenacious, determined, diligent, insistent, steadfast, enduring, purposeful, dedicated, durable, strong, patient, survivor? Hang in there and keep moving forward.


Last, but certainly not least, keep things in perspective as you go through this journey:

  • Stay connected with friends and family—let them know how they can help you.
  • Step back to evaluate what you’ve done and see what needs to be tweaked.
  • Keep your sense of humor and stay flexible. Things don’t always go as planned, but if the outcome is what you want, it doesn’t really matter which route you took to get there.
  • An achievement is an achievement—don’t measure it, just celebrate it.
  • Reward yourself at the end of a hard day or week—you’re doing a great job and deserve some recognition.


Ask a career coach your question.

Specially trained in career services, the career coaches offered by University of Phoenix as a complimentary resource form a network across the United States. All coaches hold a master’s degree in counseling or a related field, and have years of experience in assisting students and alumni in reaching their career goals.