Unemployment: you might actively seek it or be thrown into it. It can come in the form of an unexpected redundancy or with you willingly handing in your notice.
I’ve seen different people trying to find a job during unemployment succumb to the same vicious cycle time and time again. It goes something like this.
The 7 stages of unemployment desperation
The money you were earning to pay for everything you do is gone. You might have some savings, but it is only going to last you the next month or two – maybe three.
At this point you haven’t really thought about what it is you need to do to find a new job.
If you have been made redundant, you may be lucky and have an out-placement program. It’s a good safety net because you have someone to talk to, who listens and tells you positive things.
You start trawling online job search sites and LinkedIn for jobs that appeal to you, but you are finding it hard to break through.
Is it your CV? More than likely, you haven’t been regularly working on your CV even when you were employed. It probably doesn’t sell you and isn’t tailored to the role you are applying for.
Who’s the competition? The reality is that companies legally have to advertise roles but there is often an internal candidate who is a front-runner and an easy choice for the role.
Your hopes are lifted. Finally, an interview for a job you are interested in, that fits your skillset.
Unfortunately, you haven’t been practicing your interview skills. You stumble through your pitch, you have no clear professional brand and you struggle to relay relevant examples from your previous roles.
You might also find yourself bumping into conscious and unconscious bias: you’re too young or old; you’re a man or a woman; you aren’t the typical fit for the role. The feedback you get is vague and unhelpful.
You begin to worry. It’s been over a month now with no viable offers or progress. Thinking about your finances is stressing you out. You reason with yourself that you just need to find any job and then you can figure it out from there.
You start to apply for more and more jobs. Jobs that you would never have applied for a month ago.
You act surprised that you don’t get the jobs that you aren’t suited to and didn’t want in the first place.
You feel disheartened. Your self-confidence has taken a hit and you look to professional help. You assure yourself that recruiters know the industry better than you do. Plus, their networks are vast – they may be able to put you on the straight and narrow.
But recruiters get paid to put people in jobs. They don’t give you advice on where you should take your career, or what is missing from your skill-set. Instead, you find yourself inundated with role descriptions that seem further away from what you were doing in the first place.
Out of desperation you ask your friends and ex-colleagues for help. You tell yourself ‘you never know’, someone may be able to provide me with some direction, put in a good word for me, or tell me about a great job they have heard about on the grapevine.
The trouble is, you don’t have a clear plan of what it is you want. You’ve lost sight of where you want to end up, what your strengths are, and instead, you are consumed by your fear that you’ll never get a job.
Sweet relief! You have found someone to employ you. It might be through a recruiter or a recommendation of a friend.
It isn’t really what you thought you wanted, but it is a job all the same. ‘Beggars can’t be choosers’, you say. Next time, you’ll be more prepared.
Need help in your job search? We’ve got a free guide that will take you through our process for how to find a new job.
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