Trying to Find Work When Unemployed
In our last blog, we showed how to maintain a positive attitude whilst focussing your attention to having a clear outcome in mind while trying to find work when unemployed. In this article, we will look at some other ways you can positively use your time whilst looking for a new position.
Offering your valuable skills, knowledge and time without pay can serve significant benefits for job seekers. A major personal plus for you is that it will break the isolation of being at home and worrying by getting you back into a teamwork environment, and improve your self-esteem that may be suffering.
Furthermore, employers would prefer to see that people have remained busy and focused in between jobs, especially if the volunteering role is somehow related to your field. For example, an accountant could spend one day a week book-keeping for a community group or an IT professional could act as a consultant for local school looking to update their website. This looks considerably better on your resume than a blank few months.
As an active job seeker, you should think about what skills you can offer, and how much time you can reasonably commit to voluntary work. Also, what kinds of voluntary work would you like to do and what kinds of organisations would you like to be a part of? No one is reasonably expecting a life-long commitment; however, it is important to choose a voluntary activity that benefits both parties.
Have You Considered Contract Work?
When unemployed, most people envisage getting back into work fairly quickly and on a similar basis to their previous post. But you need to be more flexible in your thinking and perhaps consider contract work while looking for a permanent salary. Contracting is a great way to keep your skills sharp, increase networks (more on that later), earn income and enhance your resume.
For job seekers looking for work at mid-management levels and below, talk to some of the more generalist recruitment agencies in your area or sector; they will often have separate consultants who deal with permanent and freelance contracts. Make sure you are seen by both, and they know what you’re looking for. Just make sure that if what you really want to do is get back into full-time and permanent employment that the demands of contracting don’t get in the way of your real ambition.
Some Other Helpful Tactics to Find Work When Unemployed
Speak to your ex-boss – There is more to keeping up-to-date with the market than just reading the trade news and scanning Seek. Talking to people still working in your field is key to understanding new changes and trends in your field, so stay close to ex-bosses and colleagues. If you belong to any professional associations, make sure to attend seminars and events.
Talk to recruitment companies – Do not simply speak to recruiters about specific vacancies, ask them about trends in the job market. And it’s good to send them your updated resume if you make any changes to it (e.g. adding a new qualification), to remind them about your profile. An informal coffee meeting with recruiters is not unusual, especially if you have not been in touch with them for a while – just do not push it too frequently.
Lastly, and very importantly, be kind to yourself. It is essential to challenge negative self-talk, such as “It’s all my fault I don’t have a job”, or “Nobody is going to want to employ me”, or “Why even try!”. Psychologists recognise that this sort of self-defeating talk does not help, and an important first step is to start challenging this negative way of thinking. So, stay healthy in mind and body. Keep up the regular exercise, eat well, and if you have a health issue, go along to the GP to sort it out before it becomes more serious.
Continuing to work, whether as a contractor, a volunteer, or a temporary employee, keeps your skills up-to-date, expands your network, and fills a gap on your resume. Remember, in an uncertain economy; it is not uncommon to hit a bump in the road during your career. How you handle it is what makes the difference going forward.