Recently, a reader said that while my blog is helpful, that she would rather me have more tips and posts on those who have had a long period of unemployment. Then all of a sudden I received an e-mail from One Smart Dollar who said that they wanted to guest post and had some general ideas for a topic. What was one of those topics? It was THIS ONE! What great timing right?
This is a guest post from Scott Sery, a freelance writer, who writes for One Smart Dollar. When not talking about money he enjoys passing on his knowledge of the back country in Montana and how to live sustainably. Follow them on Twitter at @OneSmartDollar.
At least one time during most people’s working career they will find themselves unemployed. Whether it’s due to company cutbacks and workers layoffs, or due to the employee being fired, these normally hard working people find themselves forced into job hunting.
While there are plenty of jobs out there, not every job is suited to every person. So, rather than settle for something that is beneath their skill level, or a menial job that would do more damage to their self esteem than it is worth, they collect unemployment. They do this as they keep looking for the job for which they are trained. Many times that looking period is long; often lasting a year or more. When something finally does come along, they often find that the transition from unemployed to working is a lot harder than the transition from working to unemployed.
When a company first acknowledges your résumé and grants you an interview, you will be bombarded with emotions. First, overwhelming joy that you actually have a chance to re-enter the workforce will flood you. Then, that joy will be replaced with anxiety, fear, and doubt. The “what-ifs” creep in. You know those nagging questions: what if I don’t get the job, what if I get laid off again, what if I bomb the interview? Take a deep breath, and take it one step at a time.
Prepare Your Image
Ideally, you would have already been getting up and starting each day as though you were getting ready for work. This means waking up early, showering and dressing as though you were going to head to the office, and then using at least a few hours per day researching jobs. If you have not been keeping up on your image, get yourself back there quickly.
Prepare Your Knowledge
You need to know the ins and outs of the company before your interview. One of the top mistakes people make is walking into an interview without doing any research first. You should know everything you possibly can about the company. And then take some time to learn about common interview questions. The more you have studied, the more confidence you will exude during your interview. You’ll find the more confidence you exude, the more likely you are to land the job.
Prepare Your Network
This step comes after you nail the interview and land the job. In fact, the number one reason people do not get the job after an interview is because they don’t ask for it. If you feel you aced the interview, a simple question to ask is, “So when do I start?” At that moment you can start building a relationship with your future co-workers. You will want to know who to turn to for inevitable questions that will arise.
Prepare Your Skills
Many times, there is still that lingering doubt that you won’t cut it at this job either. Get rid of all doubt by making yourself an invaluable asset to the company. Work hard to do more than what is required of you. Seek out new assignments and tasks. Take initiative without being asked. Show that you care, and that you want to do a good job, so if lay-offs come along again your name won’t even make that list.
Unemployment is tough. It wreaks havoc on our emotions and feelings of self worth. Those feelings do not disappear when transitioning back into the workforce. The key is to recognize them, and make sure they work for you and not against you. If you have found yourself out of a job for a while, now is the time to buckle down and become more competitive.
Have you ever had to deal with a long period of unemployment? What did or would you do?