Unemployed and still looking for a job
Some years back, I came across an earnest post by a Solution Specialist on one of the HR groups on LinkedIn. Bob (not his real name) had been unemployed for almost two years, after the printing company he was working for closed down. He had been in the printing business for 12 years. He had above average software skills but believed that his degree in graphic design was not seen as a legitimate degree: that people were looking for something business-related perhaps.
Bob shared : “My freelancing days never really generated. My networking skills are lacking because I worked a third shift. It does cause a disconnect with the real world. I have gone back to school for a Bachelors in Business Administration. I got my Associates in Business Administration and I know companies today are looking for those with a Bachelors qualification. I’ve tried to find part-time work but companies don’t want to chance it with me finding a higher paying job and leaving. How can I get my foot in the door for an interview or even a glance at my resume? I have dedicated hours of my day just to finding a job. I am not lazy or uneducated. What am I doing wrong? Any advice would be appreciated.”
This is how I responded to Bob.
Bob, your first great step is reaching out and being candid about your predicament. It takes a mindful person to step out of the situation and assess it honestly. More importantly, rather than bemoaning the situation, you’ve taken proactive steps to begin solving your problem. You’re not in the best place right now but to some degree, it’s a matter of perspective ie if you change how you look at this, it could be phenomenally different in how you react to it. This will change the results you get.
1. Things happen for a reason, I believe. There are times you may not understand the what and why but focus on what’s next: what should you do about it?
I believe that the situation you find yourself in has freed you up to do something else. Perhaps it may be something you’ve been putting off or something you’ve been wanting to do but have not had the time or opportunity to explore. This could be the time for you – to change industry or job … or just plain change.
2. Getting back into University may not necessarily give you the results you desire in the timeframe you want. But this in itself is not a reason not to do it. What you need to think about is what is really motivating you in that direction now.
Are you choosing to get your degree in order to get more education, to get specialised or merely to have the piece of paper?
3. One piece of advice that I’d like to share is that you should never let the lack of experience you have in one thing prevent you from getting started in that space. Never let your situation dictate what you want to do. You have software skills – I think that these are skills you can tap into right now and explore possibilities via freelance work and online/virtual jobs. There’s a huge global market that is now more accessible than ever before.
You lose nothing from exploring what’s available and putting yourself out there. Be mindful of your expectations though – some people make the mistake of developing a profile, putting out a few tentative applications and then falling into a heap of disappointment when things don’t pan out quickly. Finding a job, whether online or offline, takes time, patience and dedication.
4. Build your networking skills and start taking stock of your digital identity/footprint. This is important for your digital networking activities. Many businesses are online and connect with their suppliers, customers and prospective employees through their website and social platforms. Many people look for jobs on company websites, job boards and social platforms.
So, it makes good sense to look to the digital world for more opportunities, to expand and tap into that network (as you are doing now) to see who can be of assistance. Your success in expanding your network and getting support is greatly influenced by how people perceive you online. So be mindful of how you present yourself. Consider your digital footprint, your resume, your profiles on different channels, your connections and the body of work you exhibit. In the end, these will have an impact long before you make the first connection with a new contact.
5. I know you said you don’t have much experience. Start today. Start slowly. But start. You will eventually get there. Start in the direction you would like to get into.
6. Balance your time though between looking for a job and building your profile and making it attractive. We know looking for a job is a full-time job. But to make it in the long haul, you need to find a middle ground in your approach but one that works for you.
If you rush to connect but do not have a body of work to show, you will lose the opportunity to make a good impression. On the flipside, waiting till you have fleshed your profile out, till you have something to show, will make you fearful to even start. A multi-pronged approach will serve you best. Getting your foot in the door will require more than your resume.
Chin up, keep at it and things will change. But remember that nothing changes if you decide to do nothing or if you keep doing the same thing you’ve gotten used to doing.
Bob, there are plenty of opportunities out there for the one who believes he can make things happen, despite the economic situation. When you believe that it resides within you to fix this, it will get fixed. If you believe the problem is the economy, how organisations behave nowadays, your country, the list goes on…. then you never take control – you are merely the victim of whatever is happening around you. I believe you have what it takes to make it happen. Get some rest, get focused on what you want to do, plan what steps you need to take and then go make it happen.
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#jobhunting #communication #career #passion #lifepurpose
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