While we might not be able to control being unemployed, we can control how we react to it.
Job hunting can be a very difficult time in your life. We always tell our candidates to stay positive and keep trying. There are only two types of employers in the world…those that will hire you and those that wont. You just need to find the employers that will hire you! We have put together a few thoughts that will hopefully encourage you during this job hunting season and give you a few actions to engage with to assist you in finding a great job!
1. Take a temporary assignment
It is important to keep busy in times of unemployment. Taking a short term contract will hopefully bring in a small income to assist you between jobs but it will also show your next employer that you can take initiative and lead yourself towards opportunity. It is also possible that a short term assignment will open a door within the company that you are temporarily employed. This is also a way to decide whether or not a specific industry is really the place you want to build your career.
Your time and skill are valuable assets that should never be wasted. Figure out what causes you care about and find a way to deploy your skills into those places. It may mean finding a soup kitchen in the area and helping the homeless or it could be assisting Habitat for Humanity on their next building project. You might even do well to approach a company that you want to work for and volunteer your time for free to show that you have a desire to work and grow. Check out some of these organisations where you could spend some of your valuable hours serving: http://www.capetownmagazine.com/volunteer-cape-town http://commongood.org.za/
3. Keep your skills current
If you are reading this blog you are online and have access to the internet. Research the latest developments within your desired industry and see what you can learn about keeping up to date in the field. This does not always mean that you will need to go and study a formal degree to keep up to date. There are plenty of soft skills that can be learned for assist you in your role. Explore leadership blogs and watch TED talks to keep your mind and approach to business fresh. Ask lots of questions and read the specifics that are requested in job postings that you want to one day land. Are employers looking for a qualification? Leadership experience? Customer interaction? Take note and do what you can to update your skills.
4. Take a course
There are multiple sources of free and cost effective education online if you only Google for them. Taking a class online will increase your skillset as well as help you stay engaged within the job market. Check out some of these below and see if there is one that suits your career interests:
5. Network – social connections are your biggest resource
We are not just speaking about Linked IN here. It is important to access your social network and find out what is actually happening around you. Ask friends and family what they do and what they might be looking for in a colleague or employee at their company. Share your past experience and don’t be afraid to ask lots of questions. Your social networks are going to be some of the best routes to finding a new job. You are more likely to get a foot in the door if you are referred by a friend or family member.
Do you have a skill that you can contract into various companies? Why not look at freelancing while in between permanent employment? Advertise your availability on Social Media and Linked IN. Tell friends and family what you are doing and get the word out there. This will help you see what people are actually looking for and give you an idea of how best to market yourself in the world of work.
7. Build your online presence
Believe it or not recruiters will Google you, Facebook you, check your Linkedin and scroll through your Twitter and Instagram. Why? They are not trying to stalk you…but they want to know who you are before considering you for a specific role. Sometimes clients operate in a very professional realm and your Facebook profile might put a recruiter off your CV. When the company has a strong online presence and you don’t feature online then there might be a professional mismatch. Your online presence is generally the first point of call for employers to get to know you. Make sure everything is up to date and communicating exactly what you want to world to know about you.*
*A side note about Social Media. Yes…Facebook is your personal life…but it is also totally available online for anyone to search. So its not that personal (unless you have locked down your privacy settings for anyone that is not in your inner circle) If it is online then it will be available for anyone with a web browser to see. Think about what you post online and who will see it!
8. Don’t settle for a job you will be trying to leave from day one
Employers can tell when employees are miserable. It comes through in job performance, office interactions and punctuality. For the sake of your own sanity and the sake of the employer – don’t just take a job for the cash. It will be tempting to take anything when there are few other offers…but choose wisely. By saying yes to one thing you will be saying no to something else. Contrary to this – don’t wait for your dream job to arrive as soon as you open your email. You will need to kiss a few frogs before finding your dream job. So get a job…and then begin shaping your career.
9. Don’t waste time
The worst thing you can do during this time is sit at home and do nothing. We have come across many people who have gaps in their CVs and reveal that they just sat at home and watched TV. If you are trying to catch up on some series this is great…but if you are hoping to land that dream job you wont see it advertised in the latest episode of Game of Thrones. While it can be challenging we would encourage you to have a plan and stick to it. Search job sites, send out your CV, go for interviews and take an active stance for as long as it takes till you find your breakthrough.
10. Don’t isolate yourself
Job hunting can be discouraging and you may find yourself wanting to stay in your pajamas and stay home. Don’t do it! Get out the house…connect with friends, keep good rhythms of exercise and eating and sleep. Speak about the season you are in with those close to you. If you do not have a close friendship circle then consider joining a running club, knitting club, paperjet throwing club – anything that gets you into the regular rhythm of connecting with people. This will help you stay positive and remember that life is not just about working about the people around us!
11. Stay open to all possibilities
It is a common mistake while struggling to find work to turn down opportunities that might not seem “perfect” for you. While we would not recommend doing a job that you feel compromises your integrity or leaves you more drained than encouraged – we would say that sometimes its just good to get a job and don’t; worry too much right now about building a career. You never know which small opportunity now will open up a whole new career path later on. Don’t be too put off by a lower salary at a startup where you may need to do “more than your job description” as the company fights to find its feet in the market. If you do your research you might find yourself joining a future Uber or Google!
12. Find someone to hold you accountable
Everyone needs a coach. Like a buddy joining you at the gym to push you to do a few more reps or a running partner that shoulders you across the finish line…or a friend that checks in with you about that job application you said you would respond to. Find someone that can hold you accountable during this job hunting season. We can let ourselves off the hook a little too easily and we need someone to help us stay on track. It might seem weird to ask for help but trust us…people generally feel the privilege of being asked and would love to assist.
13. Review your CV again and again.
At Key Recruitment we see hundreds of CVs every week and we pick up on the important things pretty quickly. Get the simple stuff down first like spellcheck, dates lining up and gaps in employment/education. Try not to add too much detail as your CV is just there to get you in the door – who are will fill in the weight. Employers and recruiters want to know what skills you have and why you will be an asset to a company. Write a short intro/bio that highlights what you are about. Try to be specific. Ask a friend to read through your CV and give you critical feedback. They might see something you don’t. Remember that it might be best to edit your CV for key words around the specific positions you are applying for.
14. Your job status does not define who you are.
Recently we heard a story of a girl working at a fast rising company that was part of a restructuring in her department. Some people’s roles and responsibilities changed to more align with their job titles while others simply had a title change to better reflect what they actually do. This girl was asked to change her title from “co-ordinator” to “administrator” and she refused. She refused to the point of resigning. She could not handle the seeming drop of status. Her role was not changing…nor was her pay…but in her mind the status of her title was under attack. She left the company.
Remember, no matter what job title you have…or don’t…you are a once off masterpiece. There is nobody like you. You matter and you are not defined by your job or lack thereof. Your worth is not just in what you do but in who you are!
Success in life is not measured by our achievements but by how we respond to setbacks.