Job hunting advice for the unemployed

For the unemployed, job hunting should be treated as a job in itself.  Work from 9am until 5pm and take a lunch break as you would if you were employed.  Act as your boss would by setting yourself targets, managing your activities and ensuring that you do not get distracted.  If at all possible carry out your job search away from home, in a place such as a library.

The more jobs you apply for the more quickly you will find yourself in work, so it is important to keep up momentum.  The job market can be competitive so you must beat other job seekers on every front; apply for more vacancies, create a better CV, go to more interviews etc; it is this type of tangible progress that really counts.  It is easy to feel busy while not achieving anything tangible, so create an Action Plan to map out your job hunt over the coming weeks.  Set yourself daily targets to ensure that you are doing what is most important - finding lots of vacancies and applying for them. 

If you are having problems finding suitable vacancies, expand the parameters of your job hunt.  Consider positions across a wider skills base, in a larger geographical area, at different levels of seniority and offering lower salaries; you will find that you have many more vacancies to apply for.  No one would suggest that you confine your search only to those positions outside of your original search criteria - keep applying for your dream jobs, but also apply for those that are less than perfect.  Remember that a job is rarely for life.  If you take one that is less than perfect now and a more appealing one comes along in future, you can always swap.  It is often said that it is easier to get a new job when you already have one. 

You could consider transferring your skills into an entirely new job market.  When deciding on which new careers to consider, start by analysing your skills and interests.  What do you have to offer and what are you really interested in?  It is important to be thorough at this stage; the more ‘selling points’ and interests you can identify, the greater the number of new job markets you can consider.  Some people find that becoming unemployed can be the catalyst for them moving into the career they had always dreamt of. 

Think about skills that are potentially transferable and don’t confine your thinking to what you are qualified to do.  For example you may not be qualified as a teacher but you may still be good with kids and have an interest in teaching; perhaps you could train to become a teacher.  For inspiration, consider the skills you have gained from your pastimes and personal/home life.  What previous training courses have you been on?  What did you want to be when you were at school?  What about generic skills such as communication, presentation, teamwork and time management?  Be realistic; a career as a pro footballer may be unlikely, but perhaps you could still coach football at school...  Take a step back and think as widely as possible: many people think of reasons why the CAN’T do something.  Instead think of something that you would like to do, then list any possible problems and address them 1 by 1 – you’d be surprised what’s possible.  Often people are too focused in their hunt; taking a step back to think objectively could broaden your horizons. 

Use all the resources that are available to you.  Identify and utilise all available publications, jobsites, recruitment agencies etc.  Remember that a huge number of vacancies are never advertised.  Applying speculatively is a way of increasing the number of applications you can make and could give you access to ‘invisible vacancies’.  Often, applying speculatively to a company which happens to be recruiting, means you will face less competition during the recruitment process.  People often find employment simply by meeting the right people.   Look for opportunities to meet people in your preferred job market.  Do you have any friends that work in the industry?   What relevant exhibitions, meetings, industry dinners etc are occurring that you could attend? 

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