Being unemployed is emotionally and financially challenging. If you find yourself in such a predicament, don’t sit back and blink at the wall. Opportunity doesn’t fall into lazy laps. Do yourself a favor and fight back! These eight tips will help you get out of your rut and beat the stigma of unemployment.
1. Volunteer…your time or skills-maybe not everyday but whatever your schedule or tolerance levels allow. Focusing on someone or something other than yourself is a good way to temporarily step outside your worries. Volunteer at the local pet shelter, feed the homeless, read to the elderly-find meaning in serving others. We all struggle in some area of life. Just because you’re presently unemployed, doesn’t mean you should be devalued. Bonus: Strive to turn your volunteer capacity into a paid opportunity.
2. Get engaged (active). Read…take classes…stay abreast of current trends. Check out magazines, newspaper articles, blogs, etc. to remain in the know. Keep learning, keep growing so when your time to shine comes-and it will-you’ll be armed with skills to pay the bills. Expanding your knowledge base prepares you for success in your field of choice. Stay sharp, be ready.
3. Enjoy it. Downtime doesn’t last forever. Take the kids to the park or go for a midday walk. Watch your favorite shows. Enter a cooking contest. Have fun! Stress can take an unforgiving toll on your body. Do the things you enjoy and let go of the guilt. Of course, you should continue to do everything you can to achieve your goal of landing employment but take in the moment of simply being. Find a new talent. Try something inspiring that you’ve always wanted to do-you can always make money but time spent is gone forever.
4. Develop a personal mantra. Something as simple as, “If I seek, I will find” can keep you motivated. Memorize a favorite quote or phrase and recite it any time you feel low. Yes, the stakes are high. You may have children, a sick parent, bills galore-and it’s rough but you are not alone. These words may or may not comfort you but millions of people are looking for a job. The economy has been slow. It’s not your fault. Repeat encouraging words throughout the day to help energize your efforts.
5. Explore different industries. Maybe you’ve recently been laid off from a position. Go online and research to find out how the skills you possess can help you transition into a new industry. After you know what you want to do, get an understanding of how to make it happen. What certifications do you have? Need any special training or classes? Assess your skills to determine how to best market yourself to potential employers. Bonus: Look for free or low-cost educational opportunities to whip your resume into shape.
6. Refine your get-back-to-work strategy. Who are you? What do you stand for? Strengthen your strengths. Weaken your weaknesses. In other words, become your best self and use all the resources you can access to reach “employed” status. Know your worth and be prepared to convince employers that you can get the job done. Maintaining a sense of self-worth can be challenging, especially when so many are defined by what they do for a living. Make no mistake, your life is so much more than your chosen career. Plan to work and work your plan!
7. Apply for every job you can. Perhaps, you will not get that full-time position right away. In the meantime, consider taking on two part-time jobs especially, if doing so provides you with enough income to handle your responsibilities. Continue applying for full-time positions but throw some part-time jobs into your search. You might just end up with that coveted full-time job and a part-time weekend gig. In the event you’re hired for a part-time position, try to coordinate your schedule in a way that allows you time to interview. Employers usually arrange interviews in the morning or mid afternoon. Aim to keep either of these time frames open.
8. Network. Stay connected to other professionals. Use social media to establish connections. Networking sites like LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and Google can put you in contact with hiring managers and recruiters-people who may lead you to your next career opportunity. Don’t let pride stand in the way of you and the potential for success. Share your story. It may even mirror the experiences of the person who can help you.
Remain honest, optimistic, assertive, and confident when communicating your current situation. Attend free networking events. Interact with working professionals. Remember you are one of them—your check just hasn’t arrived yet. Resist the urge to compare yourself to people who may already have a job, maybe even the job you want. Your turn will come. I leave you with these classic words: tough times never last but tough people do. Press on!