So here you are without a job, unemployed and trying to find your next career. You thought it would be easy but it’s not. You’ve been applying like crazy but no luck, or you have made it to the interview stage and nothing seems to be moving forward. It’s okay, you are not alone. Let’s try to get you on board with having a job once again.
Back to Basics
There may be a reason why you are not getting picked up, a reason you may not have even taken into consideration. So, let’s start with the basics. You really need to take advantage of this time and explore your options. What do you really want to do in your next career? What are your strengths and weaknesses? What are your priorities for your next job (“must haves,” etc.)? What are your certain “can-live-withouts” for your next job?
Now, we know your goal is to make sure you have an income and hopefully as quick as possible. But it might not happen overnight. Asking these questions can hopefully align you with the right job for you.
Revamp Your Resume
Alright let’s get right into that resume. Depending on your circumstance you may not have touched it for years. Look at it as a reference, but that’s it. You really need to make it from scratch if you want to compete in today’s job market. There are tons of references and examples out there of different styles of resumes. Microsoft Word and a basic internet search will bring up quite a few examples.
You will want to research functional versus chronological resumes (and or a mixture of both). Many experts say chronological is great if you are moving from one job right into another. If you have a gap in employment or are looking for a career in a new field, consider a functional resume highlighting your strengths and your transferable skills. Do your research, and yes, each resume should be tailored to the job. Definitely highlight your skills but don’t lie.
Beat or at Least Pass the Computer
The reality is your employer might be utilizing a computer program to filter out resumes. They are looking for reasons to weed out people so the resumes that most closely align with the job descriptions rise above the rest. You have to consider their perspective, they may have thousands of applicants and they are trying to narrow down their options.
*Note, we did not say these programs pick out the best candidate. They do pick out the best resumes based on the employers filtering requirements.
Resumes are that vital and important. They can either get you the interview or get you kicked out of the process. You may have to do some experimenting to find out what works for you.
You must know the job description inside and out. Make sure to include keywords from it that apply to your skillsets. We want you to get your foot in the door.
The Interview: Practice, Practice, Practice
So, let’s say you get your foot in the door which means the resume worked! Now you have to setup for your interview. This is where you need to practice, practice, practice. Most of us get nervous during interviews (it feels like it determines our future and success… income, reputation, etc.).
First and foremost, we want you to know your worth is not equated to the type of job you have. You are amazing just as you are.
Okay, now back to the business of finding you the right business to work for…
Interviews are just a reality. You want to be confident in what you have to say. You have to remember the interviewers do not know you. Your job is to convince them to hire you. You need to find interview questions online and practice, practice, practice. Not only should you be knowledgeable about yourself and your career highlights and strengths, you will want to know the company too. Do your research about the company. Go online and look and scroll through your possible employer’s website. Also, look up reviews about the company on sites like Glassdoor. Sometimes you will even get inside scoops about interview questions alongside company information. You also may come across trends of pros and cons at the company. Take this information with a grain of salt because it might not be an accurate portrayal of the company. However, you might notice problems or benefits in the company highlighted by people who have actually worked at the company.
Say Thank You
Rather you are rejected or accepted, always say thank you during the hiring process. You can follow up a rejection with an email that highlights your appreciation for being considered. A “good thank you” goes a long way and it might even make room for new opportunities. Be gracious in this process, understand that the position just wasn’t meant for you. Your job is to make sure you learn from the process and improve.
There will also be times when you will be waiting to hear back from prospective job opportunities. You will have to be patient. One helpful interview tip is to ask what the next step is in the hiring process. This can provide you with insight so you can prepare for the future.
Networking Opens Doors
The statistics and numbers can be staggering once you realize how some candidates are picked. It can be helpful to talk to your network and even reach outside of your comfort zone to find out about employment. Not all jobs come in a cookie-cutter format. Some will come with some digging and research. If you are interested in a job, find out if you know anyone who might have insight. Websites and social media sites can be extremely helpful in this type of active approach. (ex. LinkedIn).
When you finally make it to the hiring phase, don’t be afraid to ask for more. We’ve heard time and time again, women don’t typically negotiate offers presented to them. Make sure to have the job description available and if you believe your skills and what you can offer the company exceed the job description then bring it up. They may reject your offer or meet you in the middle. There are techniques to the art of negotiating, again, do your research.
Learn Before You Earn
The right opportunity, hard work, and perseverance should pay off. Every time you get rejected, learn from that experience and improve yourself. You will be well off on your way to a new career.
In the meantime, we know it can seem like a lot of downtime. Use this downtime to be productive in your life in ways you couldn’t before (when you had a job). Work on skills that you already have and learn new ones. Search for opportunities at local career centers that might have classes for free. You want to market yourself as a professional to your future employer. If you have a gap in employment, they want to know what you’ve been doing. Why not take this time to obtain certifications and volunteer.
You’ve Got This
Unemployment can be a real eye-opener for many of us. It is important that you are open-minded and have a willingness to keep going.
I know you might feel down from time to time, but there are tools and strategies you can use to improve your status quo. So, go on and do it.