Help for the Long Term Unemployed
Recently I’ve been working with a number of clients who have been unemployed for some time. I used to deal with this type of situation every once in awhile, but it now seems to be happening more and more frequently.
Long term unemployment can be a few weeks, months or even years. However long it is, everyone seems to suffer in the same confidence crushing way.They lay awake at night wondering how they are going to pay the bills. Feeling desperately alone and racked with guilt for letting themselves get into this position in the first place. Their confidence is at rock bottom and they begin to doubt themselves and every action they take seems futile.
The first things a client always tells me is that they are “doing all the usual stuff”, but just to get clear I ask them to list off all the things they are doing.
This tends to be their response:-
- They have updated their CV
- They have been applying for positions they see listed on job websites relevant to their experience
- Sending their CV to recruitment agents
- Updated their LinkedIn profile
- Asked friend and family if they have any jobs going
- Starting to look at alternative jobs such as bar and shop work
These are the main actions that people take. They are all exactly what they should be doing, but they don’t feel it’s getting them anywhere.
Recruitment agencies rarely ever acknowledge their CV, only on the odd occasion to say their application was rejected. None of their friends or family seem to know of any positions available, and their LinkedIn profile seems like the biggest waste of time.
It’s a horrible, horrible place to be.
I’m here to tell you that you are not alone. Help is on it’s way and if you are prepared to re-take control then grab a pen and paper and lets get started on turning this situation around.
Why Recruitment Agents Ignore You
A lot of jobs listed on recruitment websites no longer exist, or worse, the jobs never existed in the first place! A recruitment agent cannot afford to have a client call them about a position, post it on a website and then wait for CVs to come in, he or she MUST have a stock of relevant CVs they can send to the client immediately! The only way to do that is to post similar jobs of what they expect to receive and build up a stockpile of CVs. Make sure your CV is in the pile by sending in yours when you see a “job” posted.
Finding The Hidden Job Market
Big companies don’t always use external agencies, they often have their own internal recruitment team. So jobs advertised on their own website are much more likely to be real jobs. The only trouble here is that it’s often a requirement for them to advertise this job externally and so “test the market”. Ultimately it’s often cheaper for them to promote internally that it is to get someone new.
Small companies can’t always justify the expense of using recruitment agents. So they also have to do everything themselves. But they will advertise their jobs elsewhere like in the “free papers”, most of those are now in digital format. Places like GumTree and CraigsList will have jobs advertised by the smaller companies that can’t afford a posting in a newspaper or on job sites like Monster.com or Jobserve.com.
The Hidden Secret to LinkedIn
Having a LinkedIn profile is a bit like going to a recruitment fair and then standing in the corner smiling, but never talking to anyone. It’s doubtful that anything will come from it. Like any social network, you get out of it what you put in. The loudest voice gets heard. You are more likely to get head hunted if you are known and liked. But how? LinkedIn Groups are the biggest “hidden in plain sight” secret of LinkedIn. Think of them as hundreds of forums where like minded people gather to talk about their topics of choice. Look at your LinkedIn page and you’ll see in the top right corner a search box, change the drop down to groups and type in the industry you are looking to get work in. Join those groups, some may require approval, but don’t let that put you off, it’s rare that people don’t get in. Have a look through the previous discussions and join in by posting replies, or even posting new discussions yourself. Try to avoid blatant begging for jobs. But do watch out for others actually posting jobs that are specific to that group. The more you interact on these groups the more known you become and the more likely your name will come up when the head hunters come looking. Talking in LinkedIn groups is just like working the room at a networking event. But the people there are much more likely to know of a job that might be suitable for you.
Helping Friends and Family find you work
Asking friends and family often gets disappointing results. Most of your friends and family don’t understand what it is you actually did do when you were working so will have even less chance in recognising a suitable job for you, even if it slapped them in the face. You’re better off asking them if they know of anyone that works for a specific company that you could contact to ask yourself.
Finding a Job is a Job in itself
Acknowledge the work you have done so far is worthwhile and absolutely necessary. Retrospectively complete your diary. This will help you answer that’s dreaded question your partner asks “What did you do today”. Just replying “I applied for jobs” makes you feel even more demoralised. Every 1-2 hours think about what you’ve been doing and make a note of it in your diary. Then at the end of the day you can look at it and truly see how hard you really have been working at getting a job. Knowing this will help you rebuild your confidence and also help others see that you are really trying hard to get back into work.
Dealing with the Loneliness of Unemployment
Being unemployed can be terribly lonely. All your old friends are working during the day and in the evening they go places you simply cannot afford to attend. Meetup.com is a website that is designed to organise meeting real people in real places, not just online in forums. Most of the groups are totally free of charge. These will help you get out of the house. Mix with like minded people and often cost no more than the price of a soft drink at a bar. One of my favourite groups is called Drinks And Links. It’s a great mix of all types of people looking to network and promote their own business. It might not be perfect for you, but it’s a great example of MeetUp.com group working well. Have a look at their website and do a search for other groups in your area.
Dealing with the stress of Unemployment
Dealing with the stress of unemployment is critical to your own health and wellbeing. Talking to someone about your struggles is vital, but mostly people think they need to “help” or “fix” it for you by giving you advice. This can be terribly frustrating for both sides. It can also put a massive strain on relationships. All you seem to need right now is either a “Job” or “Understanding”. Being constantly questioned and challenged often just adds more stress and pressure that you can really do without.
If you find yourself laying awake at night worrying about all sorts of things try these tips to help you calm your mind.
- Ask yourself “is there anything I can do about it right now?”. If there is, get up and do it.
- If not, then write down a note of what it is you are worrying about, what you want to do about it, and when you will take that action.
By externalising your thoughts in this way and promising to take action later allows your mind to calm down and let go of the thoughts. Your mind slows down because you have ensured you won’t forget what it was worrying about.
You will get through this and eventually get a job, it might not be perfect, or it might even be your dream job! The unfortunate fact is it’s still a numbers game. But as long as you keep doing what you are doing already, and add in some of the tips listed above, hopefully you won’t have to wait too long.
I’m shortly going to be running a few live webinars online to work through these points and answer any questions you might have. If you would like to attend one of these, enter your email address below and I’ll invite you to the webinar once it’s been scheduled.