The recent news has included ISIS, Iraq, Gaza, Israel, Russia and the Ukraine. Here in the U.S. we read and hear about the tragedy surrounding James Foley and Michael Brown…as the world watches. As for the Ebola virus and illegal immigrants at the border—they have quickly become old news.
What about the unemployed?
Are you unemployed? Do you feel forgotten? Cast aside? Unimportant?
Certainly, some of these issues carry immediate urgency and I don’t mean to insinuate that all of these issues carry the same sense of urgency as someone who is unemployed. But with almost six million people here in the U.S. who day after day, try to manage the difficulties of unemployment, it seems odd that there hasn’t been much mention of them.
Have the unemployed become unimportant?
Unemployment news has taken a back seat… or perhaps it has been dismissed altogether. Many questions flood my mind:
- Is the problem solved?
- Are the unemployed all set?
- Has someone decided that the economy is back to norm?
- Are we out of ideas on how to help?
- Have we dropped the ball or are we trying to?
- Have we become numb from the dreadful horror on the news?
- Perhaps unemployment has been with us so long that we are in a daze.
- Are we too exhausted to care anymore?
The Employment Outlook carries mixed messages:
We have added more than 200,000 jobs in the U.S. For six months straight the average number of people applying for jobless benefits is at an eight year low. We are making progress. US News reports that the labor market is tightening— meaning that employers no longer face an ocean of applicants. It all sounds good—right?
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported on August 1 that:
Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 209,000 in July, and the unemployment rate was little changed at 6.2 percent.
The Economic Policy Institute (EPI) reports
That the conventional measurements of the BLS “underestimates the weakness of job opportunities.” Their process does not consider “missing workers” —unemployed people who are not looking for work because the opportunities are not available. The EPI calculation, that includes the number of missing workers, as of August 1, puts unemployment at 9.6% or approximately 5,860,000 people.
That’s a lot of people…real people, who need help and support.
Jobseeker —You are NOT alone!
There is an entire army of people who have not forgotten you!
There are career coaches, résumé writers, support groups and resources that can be found through LinkedIn, local libraries, churches, synagogues, and alumni associations…just to name a few!
More good news!
Through the years of the Great Recession, these groups have polished their offerings. They have learned a lot about the hiring industry, identified and developed best-in-class tools and many have become outstanding resources. People who have used their services have returned as volunteers to help current jobseekers. They truly understand!
Jobseeker, you are not forgotten.
Here are some critical questions for jobseekers:
- Are you connected to a good support system?
- Are you working every day (approximately 6-8 hours) to manage your motivation and wisely use your time to work productively on your job search?
- Do you have a weekly schedule that is reasonable, that you can follow and that gives you a sense of accomplishment?
If the answer to any of these questions is “no” then it’s definitely time to look for solutions.
- Are you overwhelmed by shame, rejection, isolation, depression?
- Are you sullen, sarcastic, and cynical?
If the answer to any of these questions is “yes” then it’s really time to take action.
Three ways jobseekers can find help:
- Call or visit your local library and ask for a list of Support Groups. Every one will be different. Find one that works for you. It’s awkward at first, but you will soon be someone who can encourage a new arrival!
- Consider churches and synagogues in your area that offer support for jobseekers. There are some incredibly fine organizations, complete with websites and online resources. Professionals in the hiring industry often manage these groups. Usually, membership is not a requirement.
- Motivation is tricky and everyone is different. Some people clean the garage, others volunteer, and some people meditate. If you’ve ignored the psychological/spiritual aspects of your job search, then you might want to rethink your approach. Most jobseekers tell me that the mental struggle is the most challenging.
The Jobseeker’s Weekly Schedule:
The household schedule may change when one wage-earner becomes unemployed. That person may take on the household management. Still, the old adage that, “Your full-time job is finding a job!” …is true. Each jobseeker should spend 6-8 hours a day on their job search.
Top ten Jobseeker MUST-DO every week:
- Significant time on LinkedIn each day: Groups, articles, connections
- Learn more about your industry. Read articles, share with LinkedIn groups. Connect with people in your industry.
- Research top businesses in your industry. Watch for mergers and acquisitions—those being opportunities.
- Talk to people every day about your industry and what is going on in it. Polish your ability to talk to people from different backgrounds about what you do and how you bring value.
- Do something to improve your physical surroundings. This could mean cleaning the garage, organizing the linen closet, or something else.
- Do something daily to improve the quality of your life: think carefully on this one. What can you do to make your life better? Is it diet? Exercise? Meditation?
- Make someone else’s life better. This could be as simple as a smile on the street, cutting your neighbor’s lawn, reading to someone who is shut-in, or encouraging another jobseeker.
- Get out of the house at least twice a week! Jobseeker groups, libraries, support groups, networking possibilities. Regular volunteering somewhere can be enormously helpful. This could be at a local library, hospital, or community centers – just look around. Make a commitment and show up. Choose something you believe in.
- Find and apply to five employment opportunities and create carefully crafted cover letters and résumés. Track results. Evaluate what you have learned after every 10 applications. Adapt what you learned, make changes in your process and do it again.
- Find and complete educational opportunities, preferably related to your employable skills. These can be found at no charge. Some higher education facilities allow jobseekers to audit courses without a fee.
What have I missed? Please connect and let me know.