TheCareerCenter

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Newsletter

June 2010 Newsletter

by Kimberly M. Haydostian, M.A.

Some Thoughts on How to Get Back if You've Been Out for a While

 

Work is fundamental for many people. Work defines us, gives us a sense of pride and accomplishment, and gives us the money to pay our bills and enjoy the wonderful things life has to offer. Needless to say, a job loss significantly disrupts this sense of well-being. When the period of unemployment turns into more than one year a range of emotions sets in; fear, hopelessness, helplessness, embarrassment.

 

During this time, as finding money to pay bills becomes more and more difficult, stress sets in, causing strain in relationships. Family, friends, and others may ask, "Have you found a job yet?" This question can feel demoralizing and intrusive as each passing week increases the pressure to find work.

 

In the current state of the economy, which has been measured in terms of The Great Depression, the phenomenon of being out of work for more than one year is not uncommon. During these trying times, many experienced, highly-trained and hard-working candidates have experienced difficulty in finding their next position.

 

There is good news. The economy is beginning to turn. Many industries such as Financial Services, Pharmaceuticals, Autos, and Consumer Goods are experiencing profitability and are staffing up again.

 

Following are some ways to revive the job search and capitalize on the revival of the economy:

 

1. Put out an SOS. Dont go it alone anymore. Find help, professional and otherwise. You can utilize your local college's career center, your state employment agency, a private career counselor, or a professional employment agency. These professionals can breathe new life into your job search by helping you revamp your career marketing materials, develop a more effective job search strategy, and providing counseling and coaching. A professional counselor can also help you improve strained relationships, determine some of the factors which are making your job search difficult, and sort through the myriad of negative feelings associated with being out of work.

 

In addition, you can join a "networking" group. Here, you can commiserate with others who are in the same boat as you. Many people feel increased motivation, self-esteem and well-being when working with others who are going through a similar experience as opposed to a feeling of isolation and loneliness when going it alone.

 

2. Approach Your Job Search Anew. Ok, so you've been out of work for a while with no prospects on the horizon. Remember the saying, "Today is the First Day of the Rest of My Life." Take time to revamp you career marketing materials to better highlight you achievements and accomplishments, reformulate your job search strategy, renew your company research, and rework your list of networking contacts.

 

3. Identify and Throw Out the Excess Baggage. What are the negative thoughts and feelings which have been weighing you down? Here are some examples:

"No one wants to hire me. I've been out of work for too long. This hiring manager will think Im a loser.

Following are more productive thoughts:

"I am a hard worker. I made excellent contributions at my last job, and I look forward to contributing again. I have excellent experience and education and would be an asset to an organization. I have excellent leadership ability and ethics."

 

Take the time to identify these negative thoughts that are bogging you down and work to replace them with a more productive and more positive mantra.

 

4. Initiate a Disciplined Job Search. You have no more time to waste on busywork. It's very easy to spend the day cleaning the house, walking the dog, talking on the telephone etc. because job-hunting can be boring and unfulfilling. Try to make it more fun and exciting and give yourself rewards for a productive day.

 

How can you make job-hunting more fun? Perhaps you could meet a fellow job-hunter for an a.m. coffee meeting with you laptop computer and research job prospects together. You can also attend Career Fairs with fellow job seekers. You can plan motivating a.m. telephone calls with specific agendas on what you plan to accomplish that day.

 

Also, try to spend the majority of your time performing tasks which are productive. While applying for jobs can be somewhat successful, use this information to make a personal contact with the company you are applying for online. Dont fear making personal contacts. If the job is posted on line, they are looking to fill that position.

Other productive tasks are the dreaded N word i.e. Networking, company research, or setting up meetings with recruiters.

 

Of particular note, focusing on contract/temporary work can help you get your foot back in the door. The current experience of many jobseekers is that companies are offering contract/temporary positions. Networking with friends and colleagues can help you find these positions. Usually as a downturn swings upward, companies seek these kinds of employees to complete work prior to making a full commitment to add headcount. This is what is happening now. Proving yourself here will almost guarantee you a permanent position when the organization decides they need to staff up again.

 

5. Cultivate Your Self-Esteem. At a time when self-esteem can be at its lowest point, enhancing this element is essential. You need to take care of you health wise and otherwise. Try to keep yourself healthy through eating well, exercise and proper rest. Maintain a positive mental attitude through productive thoughts. Work to keep relationships healthy during this stressful time. A productive day of job-hunting can provide a sense of accomplishment.

 

Good luck in your job search. You will achieve you goals and you will be successful!