Football tackleAlthough the economy is slowly improving and statistics show that the national unemployment rate is decreasing, a lot of people are still struggling to obtain jobs. In fact, reports have claimed that the drop in unemployment is partially due to many Americans dropping out of the job-search field. While this is definitely not an ideal position in which to find yourself, it is an opportunity for you to reach inside yourself and find a strength, resilience, and capability that you may not have realized you had. Even if you are not looking to find growth and character building through the experience of not being able to find a career within your chosen field, you will inevitably have to focus on dealing with this period in the most effective way possible. Rather than suffering through this time feeling sorry for yourself, why not dedicate you efforts on finding ways to get through while still seeking the career you really want?

And just how do you accomplish this?

Turn looking for a job into your job. Most people aren’t just handed their careers; we have to actively seek them. While you are dealing with prolonged unemployment, remember to make getting out of this season your focus, not just getting through it. This may mean completely reinventing yourself as an employee. Consider seeking furthered education, undergoing refresher training courses, or attending seminars that can help you to be even more qualified for a position so that you will stand out among other candidates. Although employers will see that you were unemployed for a period of time, they will be impressed by all you accomplished while not working. The difference between an applicant who was unemployed for six months and spent his/her time looking for jobs and a candidate, also unemployed for six months, and used that time to become better educated and certified in the industry is drastic.

Also, while “employed” as a job seeker, use several different tactics to look for jobs. Understand that spending all of your time searching the internet is not the best or only way to find a reliable and fulfilling career. You need to utilize the reliable, consistent means of finding employment that have been used for generations before you. Ask friends and family members if they have heard of any positions that may be attractive to you, contact former colleagues and find out where they are working, utilize all of your professional networking contacts for information and connections, and look at local job boards in stores and cafes (you’d be surprised).

Do what you have to do. When you are dealing with unemployment (especially for a significant amount of time), at some point you cannot be choosy. You still need to bring in an income and take care of your responsibilities. Whether you have a family to support or you are just trying to pay your own bills, your life is not going to be put on hold because you aren’t employed. You must embrace that you are not above anything when it comes to the difference between suffering and struggling, and being able to pay your bills and maintain at least a basic quality of life. You may not be able to find the type of position that really thrills you or that you feel takes the most advantage of your training, skills, or education, but that doesn’t really matter when you are dealing with an extended period of unemployment.

Seek out any employment that you can find. Haunt temporary employment agencies, seek out light industrial work, manual labor, or entry-level positions within your chosen industry. Know that this is not your permanent condition, but a way to ensure your life’s necessities and expenses will be taken care of as you push to overcome the trials of not being able to find employment in your chosen field. Also, the first job you get after a long period of unemployment will not be your job for the next 30 years (if you don’t desire it to be). You can always explain to another employer your reasoning for taking that position. If a company cannot understand and respect your willingness to be underemployed for the sake of making ends meet, I’m not sure you’d want to work there anyway.

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