Job Markets are Looking Up
Around May 16, a report revealed California’s unemployment rate had fallen to levels not seen since the stock market crash of 2008. It currently sits around 7.8 percent and California’s job creation record is second-highest in the nation. In fact, it was announced during this same period that unemployment rates fell in 43 states. These numbers may not mean much to those of us searching for our next opportunity, but we still can perform activities that will avert depression or a loss of motivation.
Avoid the Bluebird of Unhappiness
Step one is to avoid the bluebird of unhappiness. Most of us tend to find comfort in numbers. They say misery loves company, so find yourself some. This may seem snarky at first, but I recommend staying with those that can lift your spirits and support you in your time of need. For some, this may be family members and/or friends. Others may find support groups in church or community centers. You can also find online groups. It is key to find that support group that can relate to you and supply a laugh and words of wisdom. The last thing you want is to walk into an interview and present a melancholy personality that removes you from consideration.
Misery Loves Company
Groups can also supply you with new ideas on how to present your skills and characteristics. It can create networking scenarios that open new doors for you to explore. You may also find yourself taking a different career path as you engage with those in related but separate fields. Force yourself to contribute to discussions. Comment on blogs or articles associated with your field. If you see a job opportunity that may fit someone else in your group, point it out. Support each other in your searches.
Another action that can build upon this feeling of empowerment and satisfaction is donating time as a volunteer to an organization of your choice. Perhaps you are a software developer that can supply website support, IT related knowledge or even develop an application that benefits the organization. Many groups need volunteers to assist in accounting, technology or project management areas. Seek these needs out. Performing with non-profits lets you sharpen your skills, increases your network of individuals and lets hiring managers know what kind of person you are. It’s a win-win situation. Do be aware of how much time you dedicate to this and don’t let it reduce the effectiveness of your search for fulltime employment.
Keep learning about your role. If you are a software developer, you can sharpen your skills by programming and sharing your work on sites such as Github. You may be inspired by others in the collaboration groups and you also will be increasing your network. There also a lot of free online training videos that can help you explore new tools or solutions for your industry. Take the time to keep up with the solutions you will have to use when you are back in the trenches. You will also be able to talk about these skills during your interviews.
Be Your Own Boss
The last bit of advice is to create your own work schedule. In this situation, searching for work is your fulltime job. Maintaining a consistent section of your day that you devote to search can help you stay focused. You can also feel productive knowing you accomplished your daily tasks, such as submitting a certain number of resumes, making a specified number of phone calls or identifying a target number of opportunities. Reward yourself with something special at the end of the day. Maybe the reward is sitting with your favorite book, magazine or game. Keep yourself in a good mood by acknowledging your accomplishments.
Hunting for new employment, especially when you are unemployed is no picnic. It can drain you emotionally as well as physically. Remember you are not alone and that you can keep your mind open to new career possibilities. Who knows, you may become inspired to start a new venture of your own.
Jim Barnes, Axiom marketing manager, has a masters in HR. He looks forward to seeing your comments and welcomes LinkedIn connection requests.