For most of you, May 1, 2009, was as indistinguishable a spring day as any 24-hour block would be in the calendar of your life.
Well, let me assure you, it was a Friday.
I got up. I worked out. I grabbed my coffee and went to the office. When the clock struck five, the workweek ended and my weekend began--and it dragged on for eight grueling months.
Eight-month weekend, you say? Sounds fantastic. Not when you're unemployed.
According to a report in the Chicago Tribune, college graduates are getting a taste of this permanent vacation. Unemployment among people 20 to 24 years of age--your typical college grad--is nearly equal to the nation's 9.8 percent unemployment rate, fairing only slightly better at 9.3 percent, reports the Tribune.
The good news for job-seekers is that things can and will get back on track, but it can take time and will mean getting your butt off the couch to ensure it does. So, from the formerly self-unemployed to those currently looking, here are six tips to help get and/or keep you motivated while on the job-search.
1. Routine. Routine. Routine. When you've got nowhere to be, it's hard to find stimuli to keep yourself going. It's easy to park yourself in front of the TV--or just stay in bed. If this is the attitude you take, you're doomed to fail. You've got to treat unemployment like a job in itself. Get up every day and get ready as if you were going into work. A routine keeps you busy and can keep you progressing in your search.
2. Take what you can get. Depending on your situation, you don't always have to take the first thing that comes along, but at some point, be realistic that perhaps the perfect job isn't in the cards just yet. Maybe the perfect job is the one you can get right now. Whether that means taking what freelance gigs you can to stay afloat or possibly something part-time at the neighborhood bar & grille up the street--beggars can't be choosers. But they can go hungry.
3. It's okay to cry. The job-hunt can be a stressful time for anyone. Sometimes you need to let it out. Just remember that briefly succumbing to emotion is different then being consumed by it. You've still got work to do, so don't grieve your own misfortunes too long.
4. Network. It's commonsense, but you'd be amazed at how many people don't use their Web of connections. And since it is 2010, might I suggest adding a social media element to your search. Networking sites such as LinkedIn are fabulous tools to use, as are your current e-mail contacts, your Facebook page, and even your Twitter account. Let people know you're on the lookout. Talk to friends, your family, former classmates -- depending on how desperate you are, perhaps even a former flame. Before you know it, you'll see you have a budding list of people willing to help.
5. Stay current. This goes beyond what's in the news to include what's happening in your desired industry of choice. For some job-seekers, it also applies to the skill-set in your arsenal. You can't rest on the laurels of your talents. Not a single day goes by that I don't write--and the same was true while I was unemployed. I'm not saying if you don't use it, you'll lose it, but your skills could get pretty rusty.
6. Take a chance. The two best jobs of my life I landed in questionable fashion. Whether it was an outrageous personal confession in the interview or a crazy introduction at the start of your cover letter, sometimes standing out is just a matter of doing something a little unusual. I won't tell you want I did exactly, but let's just say it might've involved taking off my shoes and socks. While "different" understandably might not work for all people, for me, the risk paid off--literally, I have the paycheck to prove it.