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How to Survive Unemployment
This is an important time to network
Don't Be a Shut-In
When the recession hit in 2008, I was laid off and unfortunately was unemployed for eight months. I worried about paying bills, buying groceries and even about using gas to run errands. There were times when I felt ‘less’ as a person because I was not contributing much to my home. Your friends and family will be supportive, but if they have never been unemployed, they truly cannot understand how frustrating the time and the process and the waiting can be. Getting out of the house can help clear your mind, and was a great way for me to adjust my attitude. I hope to share some useful tips to help you get through this stressful time.
My Favorite Job Boards
- LinkedIn | World's Largest Professional Network
150 million+ members | Manage your professional identity. Build and engage with your professional network. Access knowledge, insights and opportunities.
- Indeed.com | one search. all jobs
Click here to find millions of jobs from thousands of company web sites, job boards and newspapers. one search. all jobs. Indeed.
There Are Many Things You Cannot Control
If you are unemployed for a significant period of time, you will likely have moments of despair. You may experience one frustrating day after another. You will wonder when and if anyone will ever hire you again. You will wonder if the last job on your resume is the curse of death. You will experience heartache and the loss that goes along with losing something you truly love doing.
You will resent the internet and all those glorious job postings for which you are the perfect candidate. You will resent the companies that require you to spend 30-60 minutes completing their online forms. You will resent checking the boxes that ask for your gender, ethnic heritage and criminal record.
You will be frustrated with every personalized cover letter that goes into a black hole. You will resent the time that you spent diligently searching for the name of a recruiter and the correct address and the customized letter that took you an hour to create. The internet has so much information but very little in the way of personal connection.
Breaking up the madness
How do you handle 'cabin fever'?
Please hire me
Reach Out to Recruiters
Linkedin is a terrific website for connecting with professionals in your industry, searching for jobs and catching up on the latest industry news. One of the benefits of this site is that the name of the recruiter is often listed in the job posting. You can apply for a job of interest and connect with the recruiter at the same time. I strongly suggest that you include a personalized cover letter when you apply for the job, addressed to the recruiter.
You can also Follow a company on Linkedin to see when new jobs are posted, check out new hires, see if there are changes to the management structure and stay up to date with new partnerships. You can also join Groups that will connect you with people in your industry. Many groups have recruiters because they are looking for people in their industry. This is an easy way to connect with them!
Take time to breathe
Go For a Walk
Although you need emotional support and encouragement, you can’t allow yourself to get stuck in the doldrums. I make it a point to leave my house once a day. At the time, gas was $3.50 per gallon and I drive a full-size SUV, so I didn't go very far. However, I get a little cagey if I’m stuck inside for very long. Visit a local park, go for a walk, take random pictures while you’re out, then blog about it.
On a walk along a greenbelt, I discovered a duck with more than a dozen ducklings. I took pictures of the little family each week and created a photo blog which turned out pretty cute. I continued to take pictures over the next few months and watching those ducks became part of my daily routine.
Play with your pet
Appreciate Funny Moments
My son gave five years of service to the Marine Corps and came home to roost that summer. His goal was to attend college full time and I was psyched! My son has a Big Heart and he really wanted a dog. Me....not so much. We visited several animal shelters and came home with a two-year old hound mix. My son named him Remmy, short for Remington.
Remmy loves toys and can remove a squeaker from a new toy in less than two minutes. I was always amused by this and one took pictures of him with a new toy. The photographs ended up telling a very funny story which I also blogged about and named, The Scene of the Crime. It got me out of the house. It gave me some creative time and I still laugh every time I read the story.
Networking and Career Search Groups
It's important that your friends, colleagues, and family know that you are in between jobs. Shake off the pride and let them help you connect with people in your profession.
This is a time to put yourself ‘out there’ and explore new groups. Most cities have networking groups that are set up by industry or profession. In Dallas, I attended meetings through CareerConnection and know that Dallas has many more groups as well.
I am aware of another Jobs Ministry through a church in Houston. Both of these organizations have helped place tens of thousands of people into jobs.
The people that attend these group meetings come from all industries and backgrounds. They may know people at a company you are targeting for a new job. Get to know these people, and definitely connect with them on Linkedin.
These networking groups can help you update your resume, practice interviewing and expand your current network.
If you live in an area without that type of resource, check out this article about optimizing your resume with keywords.
Make Stress Your Friend
Focus on Your Craft
I had always wanted to learn how to make jewelry but didn’t have any skills. I bought a couple of books at Barnes & Noble, and then purchased some equipment so that I could start a basic jewelry line. The problem with this little hobby is the cost of precious metals. A sheet of silver is not always budget friendly.
You can always start a hobby that you have been putting off. Blogging is an easy hobby. It doesn’t cost anything, doesn’t take up any room, and it allows you to express your creative or technical side. There are so many blogs about cooking, parenting, gardening, do-it-yourself projects but none with your particular level of passion or expertise.
You can make passive income from blogging through pay-per-click ads. I created this profile on Hubpages and although I don't spend much time on it, the blog does bring in some revenue.
Learn a New Skill
I had completed a degree program five years prior through the University of Phoenix and now I had time to put some of that knowledge to work. I built a website for an artist friend of mine on Wix. It was my very first website and it allowed me to be creative with layout and design. I have built several websites since then and use Godaddy as my source for buying domains and hosting web content.
I created a personal website to reflect my professional career and this allows people (hopefully recruiters) to download my resume with one click. I use social media as a communication platform that can also draw attention to me, as a candidate. When you have gaps in your resume, I think it's important to let recruiters and hiring managers know what you did during that time. Show them that you learned something, contributed to an organization or started to build a business. For more information on how to explain gaps, check out this article on Careerealism. Being unemployed should be a time that stretches you in ways that allow you to be creative and to explore new opportunities and technologies.
Time to Celebrate!
Back to Work
Eight months after I was laid off, I received a job offer. I had one phone interview with this company and had not met the hiring manager. My friends asked if I accepted the offer. Of course I accepted the offer! It’s the only offer I had received in eight months and I would be able to utilize all the skills I have learned over the past ten years. I could not wait to be challenged!
If you become unemployed, don't panic. Stay busy and keep in touch with your kids, parents and friends. Pursue your hobby and discover some new joys. Enjoy the additional time you have with your family, even if it is driving you a little nuts.
© 2012 Michelle Orelup