Like many people out there, I am unemployed. Like far too many, I hold both a Bachelors and a Masters degree and I’m unemployed. I went through school certain that any bad economic times wouldn’t affect me since I had more education than the average person. I could not have been more wrong. I have learned quite a few things while searching for a job for the last 18 months, and I will be more than happy to share them here.
I’ve been working since I was 14. My first job was as a stock clerk for a local convenience store. By my senior year of high school I was working 40 hours a week as gas station attendant. I joined the Air Force a month after I graduated and was only 17. After the military I went to college (B.A. in Accounting) then grad school (Masters in Finance). I played it safe and went into Accounting, figuring there will ALWAYS be work for an Accountant. 20 years later, I find myself highly qualified and very unemployed.
So what have I been doing to find a job? Anything and everything I can think of. When I was first laid off (corporate restructuring), I was being rather picky about the jobs I applied for. That lasted about a month. Times were bad in the beginning of 2010, but I had pulled a rabbit out of the employment hat the year before, after a company I worked for closed its doors. Whenever I hear about a job opening now, I’m applying as soon as I can. I search the job boards, such as Monster, Career Builder, and Indeed.com. About once a month I hit the job boards at the largest companies in my area (Los Angeles) as well as the temp agencies. Whenever I hear about Company X is hiring, I’m on it. So far it has all resulted in one big fat goose egg! But I still have to try.
The hardest thing about a prolonged job search is keeping a positive attitude. With all the negative news and bad talk about the economy, it’s easy to curl up into a ball and quit. I have friends who have done just that. Since the beginning of 2010, I lost my house, my car was repossessed, my marriage ended, and my father died. But I carry on, even those days I have to force myself. That means doing things outside of the job search. Finding those networking events that are free and close by. Volunteering for a fun or worthy cause. Getting out of the house with the kids. Anything to break up the monotony of the job search. I have volunteered for more charities and events in the last year than I did in the previous decade. I know some of my friends are amazed at my perseverance, because they tell me so. There are days that I don’t get to do anything outside of the house, but I try to fill those with trips to the local library. Books and videos are free to borrow!
So in the coming weeks and months I will talk about different strategies I’ve used, various experiences I’ve had and heard about, all in the effort to land the next job. Hopefully I will learn something on this journey, or as my late godfather would call it, “The Next Adventure”.