It appears August 2011 will go down as the worst month since September 2010 when it comes to job creation. The bad news: no net jobs were created and the unemployment rate stays the same at 9.1%. The good news: no net layoffs were reported and the unemployment rate stays at 9.1%.
You almost have to find the glass half-full during these troubling economic times in order to stay sane while looking for a job, but while no net layoffs were announced, it doesn’t mean people didn’t lose their jobs. There are newly unemployed people out there every day, and the fact that no net jobs were created means they are facing an uphill climb when it comes to getting back on their feet.
It’s a competitive world, but the first steps you take after a layoff are the most important steps you will make. Don’t let your layoff bring you down. Take these immediate steps to help you stay on your feet and get back in the game.
Seek assistance. Because the economy has made the job market so hard to navigate, now more than ever, it makes sense to find a career coach or mentor to guide you along the right path. When it comes to a career coach, seek out a free consultation. They can be expensive and it’s important to know your investment will help land you a job, not make your economic woes worse than when you originally started. Your local library might also have a career services arm that could also be of assistance. Make sure the career coach understands your industry. If you are looking for a career in law, don’t seek out advice from someone who deals primarily in technology. They might be able to help in some ways, but they won’t be able to give you the full assistance you need. Also, if you truly respect and admire someone in your industry, you might want to seek out their help. Mentors can get you far. They have a network of contacts, and they have been in your line of work long enough to know what works and what doesn’t when seeking out a job.
Network outside the box. Do not get lazy. As easy as it is to go on LinkedIn and reach out to your contacts and make simple requests to connect with others, nothing beats face-to-face networking. Yes, what’s old is actually considered thinking outside the box these days. Who would have thought that would happen, but it is important to develop a network of people you can reach out to in a personal way. Go to your friends and family and find out what professional contacts or clients they might have who may be able to provide you with assistance either via an informational interview or a quick critique of your resume. Ask your network to introduce you to members of their network so that your professional contacts can grow at an exponential rate. The more contacts you have within your industry, the more insight you will have into the job market. This includes the ability to find out about jobs that have opened at specific companies, but have not yet been posted on a job board. Personal networking works.
Plan ahead. Part of the problem jobseekers face is that they immediately stress out about the future and become desperate with their job search. Desperation results in mistakes and a prolonged layoff. Instead, think ahead in a more rational way. Look at your current economic situation and make a budget around your needs; eliminating wasteful spending and creating a plan that will sustain you over the long haul if need be. If you are having trouble, you might want to seek out a financial planner who could help you create a plan that will make you more comfortable with your financial future. Once you get that monkey off your back, you will start to feel more confident and confidence is one of the most important driving forces during a job search.
Be a better you. Don’t just look for jobs that fit your current skill set. Expand your skills through training. Find a mentor who can help you increase your knowledge and eventually expand the possibilities in terms of what jobs you can apply for. Look at your day – morning, noon and night. Search for a job in the morning; continue your path toward developing new skills in the afternoon; and just chill out and enjoy life a little at night. Switch it up. Either way, you are creating a perfect balance that will allow you to stay in the mix, create new doors to open, and keep your mind clear.
--Jon Minners, Vault.com