A local news anchor and reporter recently asked me about how to energize a stalled job search and how to stay strong during long term unemployment and it inspired these thoughts:
Focus on Productive Behavior – A lot of people who have faced longer term unemployment are perhaps high on activity and they try to create a lot of visibility. They do this by creating accounts on Linked In, Twitter, Facebook and other places but they often are not advancing their personal brand or differentiating themselves but are just “super active” and that’s not good enough. Productive activity on social media sites, through email, phone and other communication must be very exact, purposeful. That means that you should focus on presenting yourself with consistent authority not just as someone who is “all over social media” or someone who is just active.
Develop a Schedule and Calendar – People who have spent a great deal of effort and time in unemployment may have just driven bad habits deeper. Use a very disciplined approach for yourself and schedule. Don’t spend all day online and the next day going from networking meeting to networking meeting. Build important times in for reconnecting to friends, having fun, working out, developing your skill-set through online or in person classes. Then focus your best energy on productive job search behavior and networking with key people. But make sure your efforts aren’t just more of the same but book your calendar with productive behavior.
Network as a Professional in Your Field, Not Just a Job Seeker – Sometimes people need support group type networking where you can be around others who are unemployed. Many churches offer this locally and their always is a certain dosage of job search advice. But we also recommend that job seekers invest most of their energy networking and in groups that don’t cater to the “unemployed” but who are groups where like minded professionals meet in person and online to share information, ideas and best practices. For example, I recently coached a client to attend a technical meeting where there were nothing but technology leaders from around the state. There were only a few staffing or human resources people. His goal was to not let anyone know he was looking for a job but to just act as a professional would in his field. This led to many productive conversations about ideas, technology and he built relationships. Those relationships have led to ideas, new job interviews and outstanding networking opportunities. But it first took a relationship building focus vs. a me center job search focus.
Don’t Assume You Are Doing Everything Right – As hard as this is to face, many people are missing opportunities to interview or win positions because of what may be considered little things. After a long term of unemployment I have found that some job seekers become reticent and stubborn. They don’t think they need to or don’t see how they can better answer interview questions. They defend the fact that they think their resume is fine. They don’t want to change who or how they are networking. But if you can constantly work on refining your resume, rethinking your interview answers and change the way you network it may pay dividends. Those who are the most flexible and good natured about unemployment seem to “get lucky” or land a bit quicker. One has to remember that it only takes one opportunity or offer to change everything. Go out their with that hope everyday and be flexible.
Don’t Let Pride Get in Your Way – Sometimes job seekers feel shame about a longer term unemployment situation. Some higher end executive job seekers won’t consider pay levels much below what they made before. Don’t compromise your values and what you want but don’t pass up an opportunity to take less and prove yourself again. Several clients took on very short term and contract assignments within the last year that were well below their last job but they performed so well they became indispensable to the company and guess what? They were hired full time and close to the pay and status they had before.
Know Your Audience – When you do get an interview or even as you are applying for a job focus on marketing yourself as an achiever, as a solution provider for the company. Just as you are under pressure now employers don’t want to make a mistake in hiring. Educate yourself on the culture, attitude, atmosphere and values of the company. Understand and project yourself as someone who will help solve problems and quickly adapt to the atmosphere of the company. Research and find people who have worked at the company on LinkedIn and through other networks. Find out what you can about how you “fit in” and how you can look good on your interview.
I also remarked to her this it is important in all of this to focus on your work-life mission, to incorporate volunteerism and a commitment to others in your search no matter how difficult your current or ongoing circumstances seem to be.
CareerPro Inc. is here to help you not only to update your resume, learn how to network, develop your personal brand to properly present yourself during interviews but we are here to help coach and encourage you throughout the search. Many times people start to lose their motivation when the job search takes longer than usual and we provide the extra push needed to help you stay on track to find that next career and enter into it strongly.
Give us a call at 919.787.2400 to see what we can offer or get in touch with us today for a free consultation or just to receive direction to help you during your job search. We encourage you to share this with family and friends to help others who may be job searching at this time to help them in their career advancement.