Being unemployed is not an ideal situation for anyone. Whether you are a fresher out of college or an experienced professional who got laid off due to certain changes in the company policies,it hurts to be out of job. Many people get frustrated soon after starting their job hunt and their confidence may take a major hit in the process. It’s all quite natural and you are not alone if you are experiencing such issues. Good news is the situation isn’t as bad as you think.There are ways to make your time count towards building something productive which would help you in the longer run and also increase your chances of landing a job in the shorter run.
Every adversity presents an opportunity. I say this not just for the sake of reiterating the cliché but from my own experience. I had started my career supposedly as a web developer with a small start-up but was doing all sort of things such as content writing, business development and more, as it was a small company with resource crunch and I had no choice but to multi-task. This was in the era when IT graduates in Delhi used to happily pay for “project experience”. I was a fresher and was very happy with the kind of experience I was gaining in running a company from scratch. I loved it as it was my desire to become an entrepreneur right from the beginning. Not everyone gets the opportunity of being paid to learn.
After just a year and half though I had to let go of the job due to a sudden family crisis. I was in my early twenties and it felt like the end of the world to me. Luckily, I regrouped my emotions and with all the time at my disposal got a chance to think and eventually launch my own venture which I ran for another 7 years. How it panned out is a different story altogether. If you aren’t yet bored with my own “tryst with destiny” keep reading to know how you can make the most of your “unemployment”.
Once you are employed, you get sucked into day to day routine, so much so that you hardly have time for several other necessary things that would benefit you in the longer run. While its quite natural to feel frustrated if the job hunt stretches beyond a point, you must not at any stage lose focus and continue to do things that would contribute towards increasing your chances of getting a job.
1. Assess And Improve Your skills: People tend to forget the importance of keeping themselves updated. I am sure that there is only a handful of us who even consider assessing themselves on their skills. You could be an awesome programmer but your communication skills may be the reason that is spoiling the party for you. Look at the skill requirements for the kind of jobs you are interested in and find the loose ends in your resume. Now is the perfect time to work on those skills. Instead of moaning over the fact that it’s tough to crack the interview and slice through the competition, why not do something that would really help you with it?
2. Connect With People: Build your network. Go out and meet as many people as you can. Try and be helpful to the people that you meet instead of posing as you need help from them. Build relationships and don’t come across as someone making the connections out of a requirement. Any time devoted into networking will help you find the right opportunities whether it be in the near future or the longer term.
Apart from making new connections it is also important that you reconnect with people already in your network. You may stumble upon an advice or opportunity that you hadn’t anticipated. Networking can prove to be the single most important factor in advancing your career.
3. Volunteer: If you get an opportunity and especially as a fresher, don’t shy away from working for someone without any payment in the beginning. For example, if you are a graphic designer and come across a non-profit organization with not so impressive information brochure, pitch in and design something good for free.Make an impression with the quality of your work. Eventually your talent would be recognized and you may get offered an attractive remuneration in the same organization. Even if you don’t, chances are that the employer will recommend you to someone they know if they find you suitable for a role in the other organization. At the least it will give you useful experience and confidence.
4. Look for Freelance Opportunities: With the advent of internet, the world has become a smaller place. You can come across genuine freelance opportunities in your field of work. If you are sincere and can work independently, doing freelance work can be very beneficial until you get the full time occupation. In fact I personally know many people who left their full time jobs to take up a career as a Freelancer. It gives you flexibility to work the hours that you want to and later on can turn into an entrepreneurial venture. Not everybody is excited to be called a Freelancer but the truth is, in the current scenario freelancing can prove very beneficial in giving you an opportunity to build your portfolio of work and at the same time cover your day to day expenses while looking for your dream job.
5. Create Your Personal Brand: In my previous article – (Link to the Social media article) I had mentioned how you can effectively use Online Social Media to enhance your career and improve your chances of getting hired. Many a times it is assumed that creating a professional profile and individual brandworks only for Entrepreneurs; but, I feel it’s equally important for employed professionals. It is not a bad idea to get your own personal website with your blogs, a professional resume that sets you apart (See example – Satyam’s professional resume) and other pieces of information you want to share with your professional network. If you think it would be too much of a stretch then at least have a professional presence online on a popular platformlike LinkedIn and engage in professional interactions with the right kind of people.Be right on top with exactly the kind of image you want to portray for yourself when being searched online as it will always help in improving your chances of getting hired.
Every effort that you make towards improving yourself adds tremendously to your growth in the longer run. I hope after reading this article you are more positive in your approach of handling the demon of unemployment. Remember, it is just a phase and will pass, but what you do while dealing with it is what will ultimately make a difference.
If you think you have more suggestions to joblagao.com readers on what else one can do while looking for a job, please contribute by leaving a comment.