One of the biggest challenges to finding a job when you are unemployed is the length of time you have been without a job. The unfortunate reality is this: the longer you have been out of a job, the harder it is to get hired. Many employers wonder why you haven’t been able to find a job. Additionally, there are worries about whether your work ethic and skills have suffered during your time out of the workforce.
Find Employment When Unemployed
Here are some things you can do to help reduce the amount of time you are unemployed:
Keep Your Network Current
One of the best things you can do is to keep your network current. Stay in touch with professional and personal contacts. That way, when you are unemployed, you reach out. You can also build a social network online. Sign up for LinkedIn and other professional networks, and make sure that you describe skills that make you an attractive prospect in your industry. Let others in your network know that you are looking for a job — or for a temporary consulting position. You might be surprised at what you can find when your network is helping you.
Volunteer or Intern
In order to keep busy, you can volunteer or intern. You still want to be on the job hunt, of course, but you can also do something else part-time. Ask about interning at a local company that doesn’t have job openings. You can also volunteer your services. If you work in advertising, you can volunteer your services for an ad campaign for a local charity. Your skills stay sharp, you are accomplishing an objective, and it looks great on paper. Look for opportunities to hold you over a bit, since being unemployed for more than six months makes it difficult to get a job later. If you can show you’ve been doing something productive, though, it takes away some of the sting.
Adjust Your Expectations
Be aware that in a job climate like this, you may have to change your expectations. You may not be paid as highly as you were before. Additionally, you may have to “settle” for different job than you wanted. The job atmosphere in academia right now means that my husband, with his shiny new Ph.D., is starting out as an adjunct, rather than getting a full-time, tenure track position. He’s just happy that he has a job starting this fall. Understand that you may need to change your idea of what you “deserve” and what is realistic.
Consider Other Ways to Make Money
Another thing you can do is consider how you might make more money using your various skills. My uncle worked as a consultant for a few months, doing temporary work as needed until he was offered a full-time job. You can also start a home business, or look for a way to begin generating passive income. Don’t let the fact that you are jobless blind you to other ways of making money. Instead, consider how your skills, experiences and credentials might be turned into the basis for a successful small business.
And, even if your business attempt fails, it looks better on a resume (or sounds better in an interview) to say that you have been working on an entrepreneurial effort, rather than to admit that you have been doing nothing beyond trying to find a job for months on end.
Photo by Wikimedia Commons.