How To Stay On Top When You’re Unemployed

It’s no fun, I know. You wake up on any given weekday morning, upset that you know nothing is going to come about today. If you could do more about remaining proactive, you definitely would. Sure, maybe doing the occasional Craigslist, LinkedIn or Career Builder check up online might seem like enough to get you out of your unpleasant phase. But to have yourself convinced that just a simple action is doing enough will probably be doing more harm than potential gain.

Going through unemployment is unlike anything I have ever experienced. For one, it was the first time that week after week, my abilities and knowledge were not needed by anyone, whether for their gain in a business, or to get myself a good grade in college. All that time and money in school, and now it was a matter of trying to impress managers other high-up individuals who barely have the time to listen to ten words from anyone.

After being on ‚ ‘vacation’ for as long as I did, I realized that there were plenty of other activities that could be engaged in for the sake of maximum prospect for getting a job and networking (and some things not to do). While everyone had their own system that yields desirable outcomes, I can tell you that this is what worked for me. At least, I assisted with maintaining my sanity while seeking employment.

1.Considering Social Media

Though it’s far from being old news at this point, it seems that may people these days fail to realize just how much of themselves they are letting out on the internet. Between your Facebook and Twitter, more people might know about you than you really think.

Having social networks while being unemployed is a complicated debate. Online profiles are gradually shifting to become the new resume, since it gives the public (namely employers) to see your true self that the standard resume can not deliver. I made some compromises when I was looking for a job that seemed to be worth it. At the end of the day, we are all just human, and it’s possible to survive without certain networks.

For one, consider getting rid of your Facebook for a time-being, or at least keep close watch of your interaction with the site. Yes, you have privacy settings that prevent outside people from looking at your content, but who knows if your friend is putting something public in a status about you that is less-that-desirable to be shared publicly? I see it all the time. Fact is, not everyone has their profiles set to private, and there is the chance that something can still come back to you.
Honestly, getting rid of Facebook when I did made me more productive in the job search and cover letter writing. I wasn’t getting distracted all the time, and my output was certainly maximized.

Twitter rarely gets as personal as Facebook, especially the tendency for people’s tweets to be relatively vague in subject matter. You can really only get so detailed in 160 characters, so I find Twitter to be pretty safe. The irony is how everything is public no matter what.

I could go into LinkedIn, but that’s really a whole article in itself. Luckily, I wrote one a while back.

2.Stay up to date with your industry

Of course the experience that you have gained help with your overall knowledge of the industry that you’re trying to get into. But it would be foolish not to take advantage of everything you can on the internet and elsewhere about the latest news, developments and trends in the given industry.

As you might know, being unemployed means that you have a lot of free time on your hands. Even if you’re not ‚ ‘working’, you can still be working. There are plenty of resources that you have access to, and speaking of the first point related to social networking, you might as well take advantage of as much as possible with how much you pay for your internet bundles.

When that interview opportunity comes along, you’re going to look like a strong candidate when you share how much you know about not just the company, but the field. Hard workers are one thing, but learned individuals just enhance everything by a larger degree.

3.Physical Activity

Staying proactive in respect to the previous point is really dependent upon how you are feeling both physically and mentally. Being unemployed can be a pretty big source of depression,  it’s understandable, but that doesn’t mean that you have to be like that consistently throughout the day.

Exercise not only keeps you in shape (not a bad attribute to have when making a first impression at an interview), but it keeps you feeling positive and provides more energy throughout the day. I started to get into running when I was looking for my first post-graduation job and I can tell you that it was one of the best decisions I could have made. While unemployment is stressful, running (or any exercise) is an excellent stress reducer, and keeps you feeling more positive about your situation.

4.Socializing

It’s not easy going out, trying to meet new people and having to tell them your situation. The key is tell them what you’re working on getting into, and the past jobs you have held. What is really important to realize is that you never know who you might be, and you may have struck up a preliminary interview before you even know it. I’ve had this happen to several friends. One minute they are grabbing drinks with friends, then strangers becomes friends. Then those strangers end up getting them an interview with a company who was looking, but may not have made their position public.

Mike Lamardo is a writer for various websites and blogs that cover sciences, entertainment, tech and more. You can find his writing on Social Motus, Modern Life Blogs, DX3 and others.

Photo credit: ‘Unemployed‘ by Big Stock