If you’ve ever been unemployed for over six months or for any extended amount of time, you probably understand how stressful your daily life can become. Friends and family start to worry, bills begin to pile up, and every waking moment spent searching for a job seems endlessly repetitive and fruitless.
Maybe you can’t find the right job offer – maybe you can’t find any offer – or maybe you’ve dropped off the market and stopped looking entirely. In any event, you’re still stuck without a job and it’s making you feel terrible. What can you do?
- Put things in perspective: Start by re-evaluating your circumstances. Realize that you’re not alone in your struggle and that there are millions of other job seekers out there who feel exactly the same way you do. If they can get through the tough times, so can you. You’ve probably heard that there’s a certain stigma attached to the unemployed – that recruiters and hiring managers avoid them like the plague, and that the longer you’ve been unemployed, the less desirable you become. Although your suspicions are not entirely unfounded, (recruiters and hiring managers have traditionally been more receptive to candidates who are already employed) this attitude is starting to dissolve in a post recession job market. Modern day employers understand that job security is fleeting and unpredictable. Most employers wouldn’t be surprised to see transitional periods in a candidate’s resume anymore.
- Switch up your marketing strategy: If your daily job seeking has become a Sisyphean task, then its time to start making some serious changes. Are you utilizing every available job seeking channel? Have you been connecting with friends, family, old co-workers and employers? Maybe you should brush up on your interview skills and improve your social media presence. At the very least, get a haircut and get yourself cleaned up. Go for a run. It’s not healthy to lie around the house every day obsessing about employment. If you can’t find a job, them maybe it’s time to make your own…(at least temporarily)
- Try your hand at consulting:You can usually find work at a local non-profit offering your services pro-bono. Volunteer work and consulting stints are great resume builders, and often times the opportunities lead to valuable connections and permanent hires. Any recruiter or hiring manager will tell you that “consulting work” sounds a whole lot better than “sitting around doing nothing” on a resume. When an interviewer asks you how you’ve been spending your time, it’s always a good idea to have a few aces up your sleeve – be professional about your answer. It’s perfectly acceptable to say you were on sabbatical, or spending more time with your family, but employers want to see that your skills haven’t dried up and you’re still interested and engaged in your work.
Remember, being unemployed isn’t the end of the world, and it certainly won’t last forever. Try to stay positive and keep experimenting with your job seeking strategies. Your time and effort will pay off!