Regardless of whether you lose or choose to leave your job, at one time or another we all find ourselves in the position of being unemployed.
Often, people view this process as daunting. There are so many variables, so many different approaches, and so many people to compete with that it is easy start the process with a negative attitude and watch it keep getting worse as time goes on.
It doesn’t have to be that way, though! We interviewedRay Davis, a Talent Development Specialist who has helped hundreds of people find better employment over the last few decades, to find out his favorite tips and tricks for getting mentally prepared for finding a new job.
Times are a-changing, and job security doesn’t really exist in the current market in the way that it used to. How would you define job security in this day and age?
I would say the best-fitting definition is this: Job security is the ability to find a better job when you lose or choose to leave your current job.
So job security has less to do with remaining static/in one company or position, and more to do with a person’s skills and abilities, is that correct?
Yes! And in order to satisfy that definition of job security, I always advise that people prepare for unemployment even when they are employed.
Here are some simple ways to do that:
- Set aside some emergency funds to have available during a time of unemployment. Everyone assumes it won’t happen to them, but if it does you want to be able to afford to keep the roof over your head, the food on your table, and the internet operational to help you in your search for a new job.
- Carry out your own professional development on an ongoing basis. Improve your skills, knowledge, and reputation by taking training courses, serving on committees and task forces, and finding creative ways to hone your speaking, writing, and management skills. Being good at what you do is only half the battle – people have to know how good you are, so be sure to meet people and make connections during your professional development; connections can help you network when you’re hunting for a job.
- Keep a contemporaneous record of your accomplishments so you can highlight them on your resume, in discussions with professional contacts, or during an interview.
- Adopt a “self-employed attitude.” Even if you work for a company and have a boss, remember that you are building your career, so everything that you do helps contribute to your future success. While your current job may be transitory, your career has permanence.
Great advice for those with forethought! But let’s say it happens – I’ve unexpectedly and suddenly become unemployed. Where do I begin?
First, you are going to need to deal with the emotional repercussions. One of the toughest things to do is to face unemployment without feeling guilty or ashamed, so you need to say it aloud, talk about it with friends, and try to get past any hurt and anger that might make it difficult to address multiple times a day during networking conversations or interviews.
The best way to do this is to talk about your unemployment with a spouse or friend until you are comfortable and can discuss it unemotionally; just practice answering the question, “Why are you unemployed?”
What if my self-confidence took such a hit during the process of becoming unemployed that I can’t seem to get past it?
It is a common reaction to feel less than self-confident when undertaking a job search, but one of the most critical factors in your success will ultimately be your confidence. To help manage your self-confidence, I suggest the following exercises:
- If you already have a physical fitness routine, keep it up. If you don’t, start one. You will be surprised at how much better you feel, both physically AND mentally. Not only will this boost your overall sense of well-being and self-confidence, but it will be a valuable outlet for you to deal with some of the stress that inevitably comes from a job search.
- Find an activity that gives you pleasure as well as a sense of accomplishment. Whether it’s taking a course, coaching a little league team, or helping with a church activity, something that is fun and gives you a sense of accomplishment will go a long ways towards rebuilding your confidence.
- Go to the library and check out books on career planning, finding a job, writing a resume, etc. Use your common sense to sort out fundamental principles from current fads, then take notes and organize your information. You will feel much more confident and prepared to start your search when backed by knowledge and research.
I’m feeling positive about this process now! What happens, though, if a few weeks pass and I still haven’t gotten any job offers – what would you think I am doing wrong?
The issue is probably less with your job searching skills and more with your unrealistic expectations regarding the job search time-table. A rule of thumb is that it takes one month of searching for every $10,000 of salary. The final amount of time it takes will depend on dozens of variables, few of which can be controlled, though, so my advice is always this: assume it will take a long time, and then work like hell to beat your estimate.
If you expect to find a job quickly and don’t, you are setting yourself up for unnecessary disappointment, but if you expect a lengthy search and then find a job sooner, you will be that much happier!
Remember, the goal is to get a job that you want, not just A job, so laying the proper groundwork (creating a great resume, building a network, meeting with target companies, checking online job sites) takes time, but will eventually get you where you want to be.
Wow, I had no idea that the timeline could be estimated in relation to expected salary – that is great information to have to help manage my expectations!
Are there any last tips/words of wisdom you want to leave us with?
Plan each day. Get up at a decent time, get dressed, and mentally ‘go to work,’ even if you only walk into another room and sit down at the computer. Prioritize your activities, concentrating on things that have the best chance of getting you an interview. You will never lack for things to do!
Most importantly, though, don’t give up; you will never fail as long as you don’t stop trying!
Thanks so much for taking the time to share your expertise! Where can we go if we want more information?
You can reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org, or give me a call at (859) 576.0257. Thanks for giving me this opportunity!