Although the role of motivation has been emphasized in the field of unemployment and job search, the motivational dynamics underlying unemployed individuals’ behavior have not yet received the attention they deserve. In this chapter, we present a motivational perspective grounded in self-determination theory (SDT), a macrotheory focusing on human motivation in the social context. We discuss basic principles of SDT and formulate seven propositions that have direct relevance for the fields of unemployment and job search. In discussing these propositions, we elucidate similarities and differences between SDT and various frameworks in the unemployment and job search literature and cover the available empirical evidence in the realm of SDT in these fields. Given that the literatures on job search and unemployment have been developed fairly independently, we conclude that SDT represents a promising theory to bridge these two fields and may equally provide useful guidelines for practitioners in the field.