Those who are currently – or have ever been – unemployed can attest to the fact that it is certainly not a paradise. Despite the constant media banter about the ‘gainfully unemployed’ and those who adore consuming government benefits, we have yet to actually meet many people who would embrace a lifestyle of absolute minimums and purely subsistence level income (if even that, which it’s very often not).
In the vein of a realistic approach – and one that doesn’t commence by belittling those in an already uncomfortable position – let’s have a look into some of the particular (if not completely unique) challenges faced by those currently unemployed and seeking a good position.
To begin, and this one is obvious, getting a job is considerably more difficult if you don’t already have one. Many people will tell you that this is all a matter of perspective and attitude, and to a degree they’re not entirely wrong, as impression matters a great deal. However, preconception can matter even more, and the conventional wisdom (antiquated as it is) does hold that if you’ve been let go from your previous job, there must be a good reason for it, and it most often tracks back into thoughts of the quality of your work and performance. What this perspective fails to account for is that we live in a day and age of major, sweeping layoffs; not the fine-edged, carefully tailored pruning of corporations of the past. Huge swaths of people will be sheared off the payroll for purely budgetary reasons on a common basis these days, and there is little to nothing they can do about it.
Moreover, the longer you’re unemployed, the more heavily the (possible) discrimination weighs. Consistent studies show that after eight months of unemployment, the hire rate drops by over 50%. That is a staggering number.
The Upswing of Impression
Despite having the uphill struggle already in play, impression can be a powerful ally to offset these poor misconceptions. By and large, the majority of your advantage comes in the face-to-face interview. Overall, these few tips will go a long way toward not only getting your foot in the door, but your feet under a desk:
- Don’t appear too eager: As earnest as you may be in your ambition, visible over-eagerness is often, and unfortunately, read as desperation. While there are few situations more worthy of desperation than being unemployed (say, with a family depending on you), being perceived as such is almost always an instant shutdown. Therefore: Don’t be too quick to agree, don’t pander, don’t be overly obsequious. Although generally affability is important, seek the right balance and remember your value. Approach the interview with it firmly in mind that you will be a worthy asset to the company.
- Stay active: Even when you’re off the job, you can still be active in ways that demonstrate the quality of your abilities and person. Volunteering is a huge bonus, especially in ways that give you managerial or organizing positions. Even if you spend a year traveling the globe, that allows you to bring some pretty relevant cross-cultural experience to the table. Get creative.
- Be persistent: This is the big one and perhaps one of the most challenging. Powering through a wall of what can feel like pointless and endless repetition is, in a word, tedious, and possibly depressing, if you are not receiving the results you desire. However, if you can manage to stay positive and keep at it by sending out resumes and applications every day, following up with leads, and doing your research on companies you’re looking into, then it will pay off.
Although job-seeking while unemployed certainly holds its tests and trials, keep your ears open for advice and support that rings true, and maximize it to your advantage. Once you get past this hurdle — no matter how long it takes — you will be that much stronger for it; which is, after all, the very purpose of challenge, itself.
Further Reading: The Best Ways To Save Time During Your Job Search
Stewart, Cooper & Coon, has helped thousands of decision makers and senior executives move up in their careers and achieve significantly improved financial packages within short time frames. Contact Fred Coon – 866-883-4200, Ext. 200