Whether you find yourself unemployed, looking to make a change, or entering the workforce for the first time, finding a job can a very time consuming, frustrating and disheartening process.
A process I know all too well. (First, because it took me over 9 months to find a new job when I decided it was time to leave my stressful, dead-end job. And second when it took me over 2 years to after being laid off to find full-time work, again.)
An anecdote that I kept coming across states:
It takes one month of searching for every $10,000 of your anticipated salary range.
So if you are looking to make $40,000 a year, it should take you 4 months to find a new job. (Sadly, my 9-month job search did not land me a $90,000 salary, and I am definitely not making $240,000 a year now!)
I have no idea if there is any truth to this or not, but based on my own experiences and the rising unemployment rates, I wouldn’t be surprised if the time-frame was actually a lot longer. So try not to be too discouraged if your job search is taking more time than you anticipated.
I wanted to give up so many times, but I couldn’t. Instead, I had to try even harder until I found a job. Eventually, I did find one that I’m very happy with.
So what can you do when you can’t find a job?
Ask for Help
I told everyone that I was looking for a job. Before long, I had people sending me job ads that they came across for positions they thought I would like, or suggesting applying in places I might not have thought of.
(You probably want to use more discretion than I did, though so that word doesn’t get back to your boss.)
I also asked for help with my resume several times when I wasn’t getting interviews for jobs that I was more than qualified for. Friends sent me copies of their resumes and offered to review and edit mine. With their help, I completely re-did my resume, sent it out once and ended up getting that job.
And the same is true if you’re struggling with your mental health. Don’t be afraid to take some time for self-care. If you need help, don’t be afraid to ask for it.
Sometimes job hunting is all about who you know. (I apparently didn’t know the right people.)
Whenever I did find a promising job posting, I asked my friends and colleagues if they had any connections I could leech off of. It felt a little sleazy at times, but it worked!
When I was applying to the college, I discovered that my coworker used to work with the hiring manager. Normally I would never include references with my job application, but I name-dropped (with her permission) like no one’s business. And that hiring manager hired me.
For my current job, I fortunately knew someone who had held my position years ago. Although the role had changed over time, being able to sit down and talk to her about the job helped me significantly spruce up my application, thoroughly prepared me for the interview, and helped me land the job.
Expand Your Search
Are you willing and/or able to move? If so, that opens up a whole lot of new opportunities.
I suggest narrowing down your search at first, otherwise the process will become even more overwhelming. Start off by picking a specific city/area that you could see yourself living in and seeing what job opportunities are there. Or be more specific with the job you want and find where they are hiring for it.
I contemplated moving at one point, but I wouldn’t have met my husband if I did.
Several times I seriously considered giving up looking for a full-time job altogether. I expanded my search by applying for minimum wage and part time jobs in the fields that I was interested in. It wasn’t ideal, but having any job was better than having no job.
I also explored making money online, which might be an option for you, too.
Give Yourself a Break
“If you’re unemployed, your full-time job is to find a job.”
I heard this so many times that I can’t help but roll my eyes at the fact that I’m now repeating it.
Obviously, finding a job is your top priority, but be realistic. You are not doing yourself any favours spending 10 hours a day in front of a computer scouring every job site and/or agonizing over your resumes and cover letters.
For me, looking at the new job postings every day (usually several times a day) and finding nothing every single time was what was discouraging me. So I only allowed myself to look on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, and I used the rest of my time to finish and submit the applications.
Find a routine that works for you. Starting with a shower, getting dressed and eating breakfast every morning might help.
Pay Attention to the Timing
Certain industries have their own cycles. If you’re trying to get into it at the wrong time, you won’t have much luck.
I wanted to get back into working at a University or College so I should have started looking in the summer. There were very few openings between January and June since most hiring is done for the school year beginning in September. Sure enough, as soon as July rolled around, the opportunities I was looking for started coming out faster than I could apply for.
Although it may feel hopeless, there are things you can do when you can’t find a job. These are just a few.
YOUR TURN: What advice would you give to someone struggling to find a job?
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