Yes, we know the job market is difficult these days, but believe it or not, people are actually getting hired; they’re just not hiring you. Why? Well employers want skilled workers – currently skilled. So how is it possible to build skill and stay relevant when you have no job? In an earlier blog, I highlighted many ways to improve your life where I mention the importance of staying involved in the community and networking. To see change happen, we must transform the way we think.
If you are at your limit with online applications and dead-end interviews, I encourage you to take these suggestions into consideration. Here are a few things to do in the meantime…
- Volunteer. Did you know that your chances of landing a job increase when you volunteer? The Corporation for National and Community Service, a federal agency promoting volunteerism conducted a “Volunteering as a Pathway to Employment” study which found that volunteers have 27 percent higher odds of finding a job after being out of work than non-volunteers. Can you believe those odds? You can have a 27% advantage over other applicants if you volunteer! Volunteering builds skills and provides opportunity to connect with a more diverse group of people. I’m sure you have developed many skills throughout your career and those are to be commended; however learning never stops and there are always opportunities to become more involved and do more. Volunteering puts you in a better position where you become more marketable to potential employers.
- Attend Networking Events. Make it a personal goal to attend at least 2 events per month. Many networking events are free or cost little to attend. Check your local listings or tag along with a friend to a work function as a plus one. The opportunities to network are endless! You can network just about anywhere; it doesn’t have to be a planned setting. Take advantage of your surroundings, but first you will have to get up and get dressed. Networking can happen at the grocery store, picking up the kids from school, a neighborhood barbecue, and the like.
- Stay Fit. Your health is important to keep in check; especially during unemployment. A balanced lifestyle of healthy nutrition and fitness helps boost confidence. When you feel good about yourself, you are likely to go the extra mile or approach someone you would normally be intimidated by. Right now you have nothing to lose, and everything to gain, so get to it.
- Keep up to date with industry hot topics. Read your local newspaper or blogs on industry trends or hot topics. This familiarity will not only help you to stay aware and knowledgeable of industry practices, it is also beneficial for you when networking with people who may work in that industry or even during an interview. Questioning an employer about how they are dealing with an industry concern could very well be the question that lands you the job. It proves that you are aware and interested in what is happening in the industry and it opens up the door to a conversation rather than an interviewer following a script. Remember, you have nothing to lose.
Just because you are required to apply to a certain number of jobs per day/week to continue receiving unemployment benefits doesn’t mean you can’t skill build in the meantime. The only way to keep your résumé current is to remain relevant and current. Your ambition is attractive; employers want to hire people who are self-motivated. Whether you are paid for your work or not, you are still experienced and hard-working. Hiring Managers want to know what you have been up to during the 6 months or possibly 3 to 5 years you’ve been unemployed. Many people complain about the gap in employment, but fail to realize that gap can be filled with your volunteer work and active involvement in your industry and community. Yes, you can actually add these things to you résumé. These activities also build skill, ability, and improve your work ethic.
Mary V. Davids is the Founder and Managing Member of D&M Consulting Services, LLC. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Management and a Master’s Degree in Human Resource Management. Mary has over a decade of experience in cultivating employee engagement, enhancing employee motivation and workplace performance, leadership coaching and training & development. She also serves as Secretary on the Board of Directors for the South Florida Chapter of the National Association of African American’s in Human Resources. Book Mary to speak at your next event or hire Mary for leadership & professional development consultation today. Follow Mary on twitter @MVDavids.