You did it! I commend you on doing something I have always been too afraid to try myself – quitting a job without a back up plan. That takes guts so a mega KUDOS to you for taking a step into the unknown to pursue what makes you truly happy.
And I know it can be daunting when things don’t go as planned. Constantly applying for jobs and not getting call backs, realizing you are running really low on funds can be discouraging and downright scary.
Should you find yourself in this position, take a moment and breathe because all your efforts will pay off. During this stressful time, here’s how to go from fearful to fearless when facing long-term unemployment.
Learn a new skill.
While the constant worry about “when will I get a job?” can be draining, I ask you to think of this question instead: if you had all the time in the world, what would you do? Working a 9 to 5, tight deadlines, never-ending to-do lists and long hours can make anyone feel too tired and too unmotivated to do much else than binge watch Netflix or head straight for bed.
The plus side to not having a job is now having ample time to learn a new skill which you can add to your resume so you can broaden your job search. This works in your favor because a topic that might come up when you land an interview is to explain your gap in employment. Being able to explain how you were productive while unemployed can go a long way.
From coding to Excel, there are many free, inexpensive and short term courses online that you can do in your downtime. Here’s a list of 25 sites for free online education to get started.
80% of jobs are never posted so why not start making genuine connections? And I said connections, not contacts, for a reason.
Networking allows a space to connect with like-minded individuals and to learn from the best professionals and mentors who can provide real world advice and direction. If one of your connections is willing to refer you, that’s less time wondering if your resume passed the ATS (Applicant Tracking System) when you apply online versus when your resume has made its way directly into the hands of the hiring manager.
If you find the idea of walking into a room full of strangers ready to exchange business cards cringe worthy, start with who you know. Ask friends and family if they know about any job openings or if they can introduce you to their friend who works at “X.” You can also try apps like Bumble and their newest Bumble Bizz feature along with Shapr designed specifically for networking which can help remove some of that awkwardness.
At the end of the day people are willing to help. The worst thing that can happen when you asking for an introduction or advice (yes, there are tactful ways to ask and here are some tips) is someone simply not replying than receiving a flat out “no.” You have nothing to lose and everything to gain when you simply start asking for help.
Volunteer and/or intern.
While it would be great to be compensated, volunteer work and intern work is still work experience you can add to your resume. Volunteering can combat depression and relieve stress you might be experiencing. Interning (no, you don’t have to be in college to intern) can give you the opportunity to explore a new career field while gaining value transferable skills. Sometimes those opportunities can turn into paid ones.
Have you experienced long-term unemployment? How did you make the best of your situation? Share your story with me in the comments below!