If you happen to fall in that unfortunate demographic of being unemployed during this economic slump it can be hard to keep your spirits up as you look for a job. Oh sure, people tell you to “buck up,” “be positive,” “put a smile on your face,” blah, blah, blah. Although all that is good advice it’s usually given by people who already have jobs, so they don’t have to worry about where next month’s rent is coming from.
But even though it gets tiresome being in limbo while trying to launch your career, there are some specific things you can do to keep your self-esteem up. Ironically, facing the issues one usually shies away from when trying to impress potential employers is high on the list. If you deal with concerns that stress you out most, you’ll feel (and appear) more confident, which could lead to quicker employment.
If there’s something in your college or work history that appears questionable on a resume, don’t try to hide it. Because I promise, it WILL rear its ugly head at some point. Instead be prepared to explain why it’s there. For example, if you were fired from a position or changed jobs in a short period of time, have your reasons ready BEFORE your interview. Same if you got a poor grade in one of your college classes. If you take responsibility for the blips in your life people will respect you for it.
Focus on Your Strengths
It’s easy to tell yourself you’re a loser when you keep getting turned down for jobs. Well, guess what? You’re not. Instead of beating yourself up, remember all the things you’re good at, and if possible, devote some time to your strengths. For example, if you’re really good in math volunteer to tutor math at your local high school or community college. If accounting is your thing, offer to be a financial advisor for your favorite non-profit. If you love the outdoors, join a biking or hiking club and offer to lead rides and hikes. Whatever you do, don’t wallow in your failures; instead bask in your successes.
Re-evaluate Your Job-seeking Process
Have you ever thought that maybe the reason you’re not getting hired is that you’re going about looking for a job the wrong way? Yes, the economy stinks right now, which means you have to be extra savvy in your job-hunting techniques, as seasoned job recruiter Peggy McKee from Career Confidential points out in her video.
So where do you find more help like this? Now that you’re not in college anymore ask your alumni association for assistance. Read forums on job-placement websites. Ask your employed friends what they did to land their first career jobs. Take advantage of all social media. There is no “secret sauce” to getting a job, however given your strengths there is a method that’s just right for you. You just have to be confident that you’ll find it.
Face Your Finances
The reason being unemployed is so scary is because you have no money coming in. To help alleviate your fears you have to limit the cash going out. This means YOU MUST create a budget and stick to it. Even if you move in with your folks, that doesn’t give you free reign to spend money like you already have a job. One of the biggest stresses in life is debt. Don’t add to your stress by spending money you don’t have.
Negativity breeds depression. If you’re already worried about how long it’s taking you to find a job, don’t surround yourself with whiners who only complain about the economy, yet do nothing to improve their own situations. That’s not to say you have to be unrealistic, but you certainly don’t want to join a pity party. And by the way, it if helps turn off the TV, especially when it comes to pundits who sensationalize solely for the sake of ratings.
Do Something for Yourself
If you sense the blues coming on, then get up off the couch and go for a bike ride, take a walk in the park, have coffee with your friends, or soak in a nice hot bath. It’s so easy to think that you don’t deserve the simple luxuries in life because you feel like a failure, when in fact just the opposite is true. Treating yourself to a small (yet inexpensive) reward is the perfect thing to lift your spirits.
It’s unfortunate that you graduated from college at a time when jobs are scarce. However, that doesn’t mean your confidence has to be a casualty of the economy. It may take you longer to launch your career than you had hoped, but eventually it will happen.