This week I am participating in a panel discussion about long term unemployment at HRPDA Indianapolis.
As a panelist, I am not bringing a prepared presentation but I can’t get the topic out of my mind. I want to scream my ideas from the top of the building to get people to listen.
I work with long term unemployed people regularly. Finding a job requires a certain skill set and confidence not everyone possesses. Those who have the most trouble often make these mistakes:
- Rely on job search techniques that do not work well. Many of the long term unemployed folks I have met can tell me with great accuracy the exact number of applications they submitted even though that technique seldom works.
- No longer confident. Often they have a negative attitude about the entire experience.
- Their desperation oozes from every pore like garlic. Employers smell this desperation and run the other way.
If you (or someone you know) have been out of work for at least six months, you might fit this category. Maybe you do not even know you are exhibiting these characteristics. But trust me, if you have been out of work for six months or more without much results, you probably have some of these issues.
Here are some tips to get out of this situation:
Stay fortified and confident. Get regular exercise. Keep consistent work hours; put in at least six hours per day at your job search.
Get a second opinion on your wardrobe, haircut, and eyeglasses. Then make adjustment to look up to date and modern. Like a person who will fit in with the team. The fixes do not have to be expensive. You can adjust your wardrobe at consignment shops or with borrowed clothes if money is an issue. You can buy inexpensive eyeglasses online at a fraction of retail eyeglass stores. This could be a great boost to your job search.
Spend at least 80% of your job search time networking to find people to talk to at target companies where you want to work. When you finish one list start another. Keep finding more people to talk to at more companies. Ask everyone you talk to who else you should talk to. Have coffee at least 3 to 5 times per week with someone new. Set networking and contact goals for every week.
Know what you have to offer. Have a succinct statement of who you are and what you offer so the people you talk to understand what you want and who you are.
Ask questions that build relationships. Networking is not about asking for a job. Networking is asking questions that allow you to build relationships. Your goal is to have a conversation. Give back. Ask questions. Be curious about the other person. Share information. It all comes back to your benefit eventually.
Join a few job seeker clubs to get feedback on the way you interview, your resume, and your job search techniques. These groups can help you figure out what you are doing wrong.
Visit your county job service. These offices are staffed with knowledgeable people who want to help. They have equipment you can borrow, reference material that can help and training that can kick start your search. Yet these offices are often empty and the staff viewed as the enemy. Don’t pass up this free resource.
Volunteer. Get out of the house and spend time in professional or special interest group you love. These groups are always looking for volunteers and committee members. This allows you to meet more people in a relaxed environment. Let people see how you work in a volunteer situation so they can imagine what it would be like to work with you in a professional situation.
Find contract work. Many agencies out there offer companies contractors for special projects. You don’t have to find those companies or even the special projects. Just find the agencies. Ask around. Google this question. Contract work gives you income, increases your network, and validates your skills.
Do you have other tips for people have been unemployed for a while? If you are unemployed, what has been your experience with employers and with the job search process? Please share your thoughts!
In our next blog we will consider how employers can help long term unemployed.