Have you recently lost your job? If so, you’re part of a large group of Americans who are out of work. Unemployment is around 10 percent while the number of people forced to work part-time jobs or have grown discouraged and quit looking for work has that number up around 17 percent. Clearly, these are not good times in America!
Yet, there are jobs available with people regularly interviewing, receiving, weighing, and accepting job offers, and starting new jobs every day. If you have not pounded the pavement in many years, then you may be unfamiliar with how to find your next engagement. In that case, the following seven tips can help you get started, taking into consideration your personal needs and desires:
1. Dust off your resume – The moment you leave a job, your resume should be changed. You need to reflect that your most recent position is now in the past, reviewing your highlights and accomplishments to see if they accurately represent you and what you can provide for an employer. Consider hiring a professional to review your resume, a fresh set of eyes who can help clarify several points and emphasize new ones going forward.
2. Confide in someone – Too many people leave their jobs shell shocked, with some reacting in ways that are negative, perhaps even harmful. Losing work means keeping in touch with those who love and care for you, while also considering looking for professional help if you have trouble sleeping, are acting out in ways that are harmful to you or others, or if you are withdrawn or depressed. These feelings, while uncomfortable, are quite normal.
The American Counseling Association says that, “Losing a job is a traumatic experience, one that can affect each of us in different ways and to different degrees.” Consider meeting with a pastor, counselor, or other professional to help guide you through this challenging time.
3. Reassess your skills – Are your current job skills adequate for today’s job market? Much has changed over the past two decades with the internet playing a huge role in how people interact with each other, find information, even look for work.
Consider meeting with a career counselor, particularly one who is familiar with your field. In some cases, the newly unemployed have discovered that their previous line of work is no longer suitable for them with jobs permanently lost or their interest in that field changed. A career counselor can guide you, offering tips on what courses you can take, perhaps returning to school for a season to obtain additional credentials or licensing. Visit our sister SayCampusLife site if you are considering returning to college.
4. Dress for success – Is your wardrobe up to date or does it need a makeover? Dressing the part is the only way to go when seeking a new job, but your current attire may be in desperate need of being retired.
If funds are limited, work with a friend or sales person who is good at helping people mix and match clothing to turn two outfits into five. Shoes, belts, and accessories can usually be found for cut rate prices, but do not skimp on quality in order to save a few dollars.
Randall S. Hansen of QuintCareers advises, “Dressing conservatively is always the safest route, but you should also try and do a little investigating of your prospective employer so that what you wear to the interview makes you look as though you fit in with the organization.”
5. Launch a job seeking campaign – Once you are ready to look for work, you will need to launch a campaign that inspires confidence in your abilities and helps you build the tenacity to endure what may become a long job search. Being realistic about what is out there is important as is being flexible in considering assignments which may not be exactly what you want.
Some questions to ask yourself include: do you have the resources available to launch a long, costly job hunt? Are your spouse and children supportive of your quest? What funds can you tap if unemployment is not enough – home equity, 401 (k), pension, etc.? Can you relocate and will your house sell? These are different times then what most job seekers are accustomed to, requiring some thoughtful planning and possible life changing decisions being made.
6. Cut yourself some slack – Some employees are laid off and given a generous severance package on top of unemployment. For the first few months, these former workers can feel flush in cash, but the reality is that those funds will soon disappear.
While taking a two week Mediterranean cruise is probably excessive and costly, a long weekend away or a week off with the kids on summer break can be in order. You are one day closer to landing your next job, therefore an occasional break can come in handy. Besides, once you start working again, will you have time to vacation? Not likely – it could be a full year before you get some much needed time off and away from the new grind.
7. Network like it is 2010 – Much has changed on the networking front with the unemployed finding it difficult to visit offices in person to drop off a resume thanks to security measures while many employers only vet candidates online.
That means you need to find out how employers are finding workers in this second decade of the twenty-first century. Online job searching has been growing tremendously popular since the middle 1990s, but today people are active on Facebook and LinkedIn. I particularly enjoy LinkedIn and have offered to my readers tips on my writing, “Getting LinkedIn For 2010.” Your paper resume is important, but your online presence is invaluable.
Have a good, healthy, and sane job search, but remember that you should not do this alone. Friends, family members, spiritual and professional counselors, and an entire network of folks are there to help you out. Tap in to that network!