There’s no question that long-term joblessness is a frustrating experience. Besides the financial consequences that come with prolonged unemployment, many job seekers find it difficult to stay motivated and to continue to push forward in a job search that’s proved fruitless month after month.
As tough as it is to constantly re-energize and find hope in an often-thankless process, maintaining an upbeat attitude and putting in continuous, focused effort is the only real way to put an end to long-term unemployment.
Despite the current economy, Ford R. Myers, career coach, speaker and author of “Get The Job You Want, Even When No One’s Hiring,” has seen many people find great positions. The ones who conquer unemployment fastest, he says, are those who work hard, use a variety of resources and create opportunities for themselves.
“I see a huge difference between those who are finding new jobs quickly and those who are experiencing longer-term job searches,” Myers says. “The former have an excellent outlook and are incorporating a variety of strategies into finding their next career. The latter are randomly responding to job postings that barely reflect their interests and experiences.”
If you’ve been unemployed for a while, and your job search has become unfocused and uninspired, Myers offers the following 10 tips for getting back on track and beating unemployment once and for all.
1. Network, network, network. Perhaps more than anything else, your relationships will make the difference between long-term unemployment and finding a job quickly. Continually increase your level of networking and keep expanding your contact database.
2. Seek help. Get career support from a professional. A qualified career coach can better prepare you to land your next position.
3. Stay current. Attend seminars, read books and subscribe to newsletters and publications relevant to your industry. Keeping informed of business trends and the economy will help you gain greater knowledge of the industries and careers that are poised for future growth.
4. Create an online presence. Build profiles on social media sites like Twitter and LinkedIn to connect with your industry and build greater visibility. If you’ve got the resources, create a website to house your résumé, samples of your work and a personal blog.
5. Create an offline presence. Position yourself as an expert by writing articles, giving presentations or teaching a class. Get involved in professional organizations and assume leadership roles there.
6. Pursue a temporary, part-time or contract position. Want to close the proverbial gap on your résumé, create valuable networking opportunities and gain work experience all at the same time? Volunteer, provide pro bono work, take on a consulting contract, or complete an internship or apprenticeship.
7. Improve and enhance all the documents in your career portfolio. Craft a unified package that consistently conveys a highly professional image of yourself. This will include a résumé, a one-page professional biography, powerful accomplishment stories, compelling cover letters, professional references, a list of targeted employers and a 30-second elevator speech.
8. Identify opportunities in healthy industries. Think about your skills in a new light by researching emerging opportunities and niches that will offer career growth, and position yourself to take advantage of these trends.
9. Practice interviewing and negotiation skills. Now is the time to brush up on crucial job search skills. Solicit the help of a partner to role-play with you, and switch roles as needed with the questions and answers. Practice with an audio-recording device, and listen to yourself as you continually improve your performance.
10. Watch your attitude. Your attitude is one part of your job search that is totally under your control. Maintain a positive outlook, and never state anything negative or act desperate. Spend some time each day focusing in and recalibrating your internal attitude.
Bottom line? “Conducting a successful job search campaign takes energy, discipline and career support. Despite the pressures many face in today’s employment market, job seekers must stay focused on their goals, use a variety of proven job search techniques and search smart,” Myers concludes.
For more job search tips and information on who’s hiring, check out the posts in our job search category.