Monday, February 5, 2007

Staying Connected While Unemployed

One of the dangers of unemployment is that it's so easy to disconnect from your career field, industry, or the labor market in general. You're busy job searching and trying to keep your life together, and you're probably grieving over what you've lost - income, job, position, status, friends, structure .... Given all this, how do you stay connected?

Here are a few suggestions for your consideration:

  • Keep current on the issues, trends, and concerns that impact your line of work. What's happening in your field? What's happening in the industry(ies) you're targeting? What's making news and causing significant industry shifts?

  • Stay in touch with others who do the same kind of work. This one makes sense for two reasons. First, by staying connected to others in your field, you'll automatically be better informed about what's happening in your field. As your peers tell you what challenges they face daily, you'll be gaining vital information about what skills you need to stress in interviews for similiar jobs. Second, maintaining your career network also means you'll be alerted when a job opening occurs in the hidden job market. What could be better than that?

  • Keep your skills up-to-date. One of the most common reasons people find themselves to be unemployable after a layoff is that they let their skills lapse. Remember that we're talking about three different kinds of skills here: Self-Management, Job-Related, and Transferable/Universal. The job postings you've uncovered so far will key you in to the primary skill sets in each of these categories that you most need for maximal employability. Take a class, practice your skills, and read, read, read, to make sure you stay on top of your game.

  • Practice self-marketing daily. In the days ahead, you'll have the opportunity to learn vital ways to market yourself: through behavior-based interview responses, customized responses to the most common interview questions, strategic defenses for your job search liabilities, and 30-second, one-minute, and two-minute personal "commercials". The key with all these strategies will be to practice, practice, practice. I'd suggest at least 30 minutes of practice daily.

  • Maintain a positive outlook/attitude. If you haven't yet viewed the Day 1 Daily Dose, I would strongly suggest you go back and take another look. One of the keys to a successful - and short - career search is to believe in yourself and the likelihood you will not only work again, but find something wonderful you will treasure. So, try journaling to help you maintain a hopeful attitude. Post quotes and affirmations all over your house and job search space. Catch yourself being fearful, and immediately do something constructive. Stay productive and focused. Take care of yourself physically, socially, emotionally, intellectually, and spiritually. Pray or meditate, if you're so inclined. Believe. Trust. Have faith!

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