Trying to Find Work When Unemployed is a Full-Time Job!
Struggling to find work when unemployed is the hardest profession there is. It requires self-motivation, planning, bravery and hard graft, while often being under pressure financially, emotionally and mentally. But there are a number of tactics you can employ that will help you remain focused and upbeat, while also improving your employment prospects.
Often at Select Resumes, our clients have had a period of unemployment. Sometimes this is voluntary due to personal reasons, and sometimes it is because of redundancy or other mitigating circumstances. In these instances, the clients have been having concerns about how to find work when unemployed and are worried about perceived preconceptions.
Firstly, as time drags on, do not get into a panic mode. Any sense of strategy and common sense will fly out the window, and you run the risk of spamming your resume in an illogical and ultimately counterproductive rush in trying to back into work.
Firstly, with so many job aggregators advertising the same role, you are liable to end up sending your resume to the same employers for the same roles, and probably cancel yourself out in the process. Be strategic, make lists, worry more about quality than quantity and take the time to really decide where you want to work, and why.
Treat Finding a Job AS a Job!
Remember that your new job is finding a job. When you are let go or if you spontaneously resign for whatever reason, you likely want to get back in the game. And when starting out, it is of huge importance to be proactive rather than reactive.
With that in mind, it is wise to get up early, shower and get fully dressed to maintain a professional mindset as if you were going to the office. The only difference is now; your responsibilities include being the first to evaluate new openings on job boards, follow up with recruiters and employment leads, reach out to your network, write emails and make phone calls.
If you lost the chance to interview for a great job because someone else got the wheels turning first, that extra hour or two of sleep will not be nearly as satisfying.
Also, because a call or email with your next opportunity could come in at any moment, it is important to have a professional email address and voicemail. While it may have been acceptable to keep your adolescent Yahoo! account and witty voicemail while you had a job, you do not want those kinds of easily changeable characteristics to leave a negative impression on hiring managers and recruiters and stand in the way. If you do decide to sleep until noon, consider letting your professional calls go until you wash the sleep from your eyes and can talk without sounding like you just woke up.
When Your Work Gap is for Family Related Issues
Another valid reason that arises regarding gaps in employment is your leave of absence to care for a seriously ill family member? Here at Select Resumes, we have had much experience in such situations, and we have found that a short reference in your opening career profile is more than sufficient to explain this. That reference addresses the obvious question that arises when it is not listed, “What were you doing during that time period?”
When interviewed, you may be asked about it, but most interviewers will stay away from the topic if you have referenced it in the resume. However, it may worth mentioning that the situation is very unlikely to arise again. Keep in mind this can be an unspoken concern that creeps in if not addressed—the question of are you likely leave your employer again.
Networking Really Helps
It is perfectly fine to admit that you are looking for connections. Most people want to help, but they do not know what sort of help you are looking for unless you ask. The more specific the ask, the better. For example, do you want to meet with them to talk about their industry or job function? Is there someone in their company whom you would like to meet? Would you like to attend a meeting of a professional group they are a member of? Is there a LinkedIn connection they have who would be valuable? Whether you want to ask them on the spot, or follow-up later with an email, remember that most people truly want to help if you tell them what you need.
In the next part of this article, well explain more techniques and strategies to help you find a job when unemployed.