8 tips for the unemployed

Aaron AvatarIn 2001, just weeks before 9/11, I was let go from my job at a large design firm. It was a shocking experience and one I wouldn't wish on anyone.

Today there are many folks in the same predicament I was in. While unemployed, I did learn a few things that I want to pass along. I hope some may be beneficial and give hope to those still looking for work.

  1. Sign-up for benefits. Being pretty self-sufficient, I had a hard time signing up for the unemployment compensation. But, this is what it is setup for: folks who lose their jobs. Make sure you sign up right away.
  2. Polish the résumé. Make sure the résumé is up-to-date. And, I recommend hiring a professional to write yours. Oftentimes, we sell ourselves “short” – so they may be able to “market” you better than you could. After it's written, take it to someone you know in a human resources department. They can offer you more valuable information about what hiring folks look for.
  3. Network, network, network. This is common sense advice. Make sure your network of acquaintances, friends and family knows your situation. They can be  your best bet for finding your next job.
  4. Join associations. If the trade you are in has an association (more than likely they do), make sure you are a member of it. Often they will have job boards and social gatherings.
  5. Use the online social networks. The biggest and most well-known is LinkedIn. Make sure you sign-up and gather your network of friends/acquaintances through it. Also, sign-up on Monster.com and other job sites with your résumé and set-up an email notification for when jobs open in your area/field. Other online resources you can try are Jobster, Careerbuilder and Craigslist.
  6. Headhunters. Find one who specializes in your field and “hire” them. Maybe more than one. They are free and get paid by an employer to find good candidates.
  7. Treat job searching like a job. One of the hardest things for me was to maintain a routine when I didn't have to “go to work”. Try and get up in the morning, get yourself ready and make yourself stay at the computer, on the phone or out networking for a certain period of time.
  8. Be sure to have some fun. Being unemployed can be very stressful for you and those closest to you. Make sure you are relieving that stress through times of refreshment.

Are you unemployed or know someone who is? What are you doing during this time?

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