7 Tips to Help Jobless Americans Persevere Make the Most of Being Unemployed
The numbers are staggering: The Labor
Department recently reported 598,000 Jobs losses in January 2009, the
worst one-month decline in 35 years, with the overall unemployment rate
now at a whopping 7.6 percent - the highest since 1992. To date,
a total of 3.6 million jobs have been lost during this recession.
Another report revealed some economists actually believe "the unemployment
rate could hit 9 percent or 10 percent at the end of this year, even
with a government stimulus and all-time low interest rates."
Add to that millions more who, out
of desperation, are working part instead of full time or have fallen
off the unemployment payroll completely, and the full extent of the
crisis hits home.
To help the throngs who now or will
soon find themselves without a job to report to, here are 7 tips to
help the currently and impending unemployed persevere through - and
even make the most of - this difficult time:
going solo. Given the amount of dramatic changes affecting
organizations and businesses across all sectors, it may be extremely
difficult and perhaps impossible to replace your job when it’s lost.
Now is the time to think outside of the box. This might just be
the turning point opportunity you need to follow a dormant dream to
open your own business. Services are still required by organizations
and individuals alike, and filling those needs as an entrepreneur may
be more satisfying than re-entering the work force.
2. Understand the outsourcing
threat. If you do choose
the corporate route, determine whether or not a change of specialty
will better satisfy both personally and professionally. However, now more than ever jobs that were rarely
if ever contracted or outsourced have gone that route. If your
particular job skills could be done by others via a computer, even overseas,
it’s time to rethink your career plan. Lawyers, journalists, accountants,
radiologists, and other professionals are finding out that they’re
no longer “safe” amid organizations looking for ways to reduce labor
3. Do a
self-SWOT analysis. For decades,
SWOT analysis has been a basic, straightforward model providing strategic
direction to organizations worldwide. By assessing a business entity’s
Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats, SWOT analysis serves
to maximize a business’ chance for success. In the same manner, unemployed
individuals should perform a Self-SWOT analysis to identify intrinsic
qualities (strengths and weaknesses) that may help or hinder them both
in their quest to get back into the workforce AND in the workplace,
itself, as well as external issues (opportunities and threats) that may
work for or against them in these same regards.
4. Update your skill
set. With unemployment now
at record highs, there is far more demand for jobs than supply. Not
staying on par with others vying for the same job(s) will be a death
knell. Take seminars, coursework or leverage other skill enhancement
vehicles to get on the leading edge and, thus, maximize your personal
value with prospective employers. Strive for your resume to show that
you can do various types of work to improve the odds of a job offer.
5. Create a "Personal Action
Plan." Even in difficult times, there are many who thrive
despite economic downturns, business closures, and other tumultuous
events solely because they have defined goals and strategies. One way to achieve this is with a “Personal
Action Plan,” which takes into account the three different facets
of life: the professional self, who earns a living; the personal self,
who does things for sheer satisfaction; and the financial self, who
understands and manages money for both the short and long term. Addressing
each of these life elements as a projection of what you want will better
assure they manifest.
6. Network online. Now more than ever those in a hiring position are looking to social media to qualify suitable candidates and weed out those who may simply look good on paper. Join social networking sites like Linked In, Plaxo, Facebook and others that provide real opportunity to easily share information and network with peers and prospective employers near and far. Beyond just posting your resume, these sites allow you to express who you are and showcase what you have to offer with far more depth, whether through videos, blog posts or other Web 2.0 strategies that hiring managers and business contacts will appreciate.
busy. Going from full speed in a full time job to complete
stop at home can be demoralizing and counterproductive. It's true that
the more we do, the more we can do. Invest some of your free time in
your local community by volunteering. You'll be helping others less
fortunate while keeping yourself motivated. You’ll also establish
new relationships and cultivate existing relationships while your out
and about, which could result in an unexpected opportunity or inspired
John McKee, Founder and CEO of BusinessSuccessCoach.net, is a Los Angeles resident and former executive at DirecTV, and is the author of "Career Wisdom - 101 Proven Ways to Ensure Workplace Success” and “21 Ways Women in Management Shoot Themselves in the Foot.” He can be reached through his Web sites at www.BusinessSuccessCoach.net and www.BusinessWomanWeb.com.