Okay, so it’s now approaching mid January already, and perhaps you’re one of the many who prior to the end of 2013 made a mental commitment to get a job in 2014. Even if you didn’t make it an official New Year’s Resolution, I suspect that in your private thoughts you still resolved to do more to get a job this year. So how are you doing so far?
If you have made a start for the better, congratulations! If you have yet to really do much of anything, stop beating yourself up mentally and get going now – today. The key is to do SOMETHING initially that you can point to and acknowledge as one single step you’ve taken that is designed to ultimately lead to employment. Then after having taken this initial step, take action and do something else; take a second step. When you do something for the first time, that’s an initiative. Do something a second and you’ve got a small pattern developing. Do something else again related to the first two and you’re building momentum. That momentum can soon be a routine. All of a sudden you can look at these string of actions and see a pattern of behaviour that has moved you mentally in the direction you want to go; closer to your ultimate goal.
“But where do I start?” is often the very question people have, and it’s a good question. Without knowing your specific situation, it’s impossible to give an appropriate response however. While one person might be lacking experience in the field they want to work in, another might have the experience but lack the certification or education that employers demand. You may have a good idea of your values and strengths while another doesn’t, but they have connections you don’t in the area they wish to work.
So here’s some broad suggestions that might help you take some of those initial steps:
1) If it’s been some time since you’ve been working, consider volunteer work first. While the need for paid employment may be great, volunteering will make you feel valued and appreciated, you’ll get back into a routine of sorts where you’re depended upon but with fewer demands for high performance. You may get a solid reference, and it can go on your resume and show you are doing something with your time, as well as give back to the community.
2) Take an assessment of your skills and experience. Do you need academic upgrading? Do you have the skills, education and experience to compete for the job you want or would returning to school be money and time well invested?
3) What do you WANT to do? If you are unemployed, you actually have the luxury to think about what will make you happiest and position yourself to move in that direction and go for it. Employed people often can’t do this because their schedules don’t allow it. If everyone was hiring, what door would you walk into and apply for a job?
4) Target your resume each and every time – please! Many people don’t and get frustrated they are qualified for jobs but can’t understand why they never get replies for interviews. Employers post qualifications and requirements so you should modify your resume each and every time you send it out so it matches up. Save all the various versions of your resume so you don’t start from scratch each time.
5) Talking about your specific situation with a professional who helps people with employment needs will save you hours of frustration and stress. Blow off a little steam and be as honest and open as you can with an Employment Counsellor and be open to the feedback you’ll get. Find someone you trust and who listens as much as they talk.
Getting a job is stressful primarily because you’re not only looking for income to pay your bills, but you’re looking for a way to spend a sizeable chunk of your life that you will find satisfying and rewarding. If you’re like most people, it actually does matter that you enjoy your work, and look forward to each day. If the job pays well but you hate it or don’t find it stimulating in the least, it won’t matter soon how much you get paid, you’ll be unhappy.
There are many people looking for work at present, and that means there are many to compete with. This can be nerve-wracking and frustrating but please don’t get so disappointed that you give up. It may actually take you seven or eight months or more to really get close to the job of your dreams even when you are qualified. Yes things have changed perhaps from when you last looked for employment. An elite few are out of work for just a few weeks.
Building momentum is crucial, but if and when you have setbacks, understand this is normal behaviour. Give yourself permission to have good days and bad, setbacks and achievements. You deserve to work. Keep a positive attitude and get support so you’re not feeling like it’s you and you only against the world.
All the very best.