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8 Ways to Turn Unemployment into a Positive Situation

8 Ways to Turn Unemployment into a Positive Situation

Unfortunately, unemployment is often associated with negative feelings of fear, unworthiness, and stress. After being unemployed for a while, many will feel that they have lost all purpose and control of life. However, if you find yourself without a 9-5 daily routine, you will soon realize the one advantage that you have over your behind-the-cubicle friends – TIME.

Being unemployed for some time before landing your next job is necessary as it gives you time to improve your knowledge and the skills needed for your future career. Put all your stress aside and follow with me to learn how you can take advantage of a negative situation and turn it into a wonderful experience that can help place you above your fellow job-hunters.

1. Get to Know Yourself.

Take advantage of being unemployed by making a list of your goals and skills.

    We are in a constant state of change, and it’s perfectly natural that some of our interests, skills, and weaknesses are evolving as the years go by, therefore a reassessment of our traits is critical if we wish to progress in our career. For that reason, take this time to evaluate yourself, everything from the skills you obtained at your previous employment to your failures and flaws. Make a list of your strengths and weaknesses that will help guide you in addressing future interview questions. Below are some questions that you must ask yourself before considering the next step:

    • Is there something you need to improve or learn? Are you missing a license/certification?
    • What are your drawbacks?
    • What are your strengths? What were you praised for at your last job?
    • Do you enjoy working in a team environment or prefer solo projects?
    • Do you like travelling internationally for business meetings?

    This is also a great time to figure out exactly what you want in a career.

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    • Is your dream job really your dream job or just something that you’re fooled into believing by friends and family or even society?
    • Did you really like your past job and do you want to repeat the same daily tasks as before?

    Converse with yourself to figure out the perfect career that will make YOU happy even after the “honeymoon” stage during employment wears off.

    2.    Improve/Modernize a Skill.

    Improve and modernize a skill when you're unemployed

      A lot of the knowledge that we possess is no longer current due to the constant introduction and easy access to new information and research. A programmer who knows how to work with only code from the early 2000’s is not seen as a viable asset for the company. The purpose of this step is to upgrade a current skill and obtain new knowledge that can be considered very valuable in the eyes of the employer.

      It is simple as subscribing to blogs, downloading free guides, reading articles daily, or purchasing a paperback written by an industry leader. You can also join Google Hangouts that pertain to your industry and learn the new trends that can be imperative to your new employer.

      Take this time to search through an endless supply of free and paid online courses that can provide you with certification upon completion, such as Udemy. By adding new skills and courses on your resume, it is a great way to show your future employer your time-management skills and most of all, that you value your time. The best thing about this step – you can do this all from the comfort of your favourite arm chair!

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      3.    Perfect Your Presentation/Interview Skills.

      Perfect your presentation skills when you are unemployed

        Not all of us are born to be stadium-packing speakers, so if you lack such skills, it is crucial that you begin to practise your verbal and non-verbal behaviour as it can be the deciding point of whether you’ll get the job. Strong verbal communication skills are highly valued by most employers, as they are signs of educated and competent individuals. For this reason, learn new vocabulary to eliminate the ‘ummms’ and ‘yeaas’ when speaking to an interviewer. If you have a strong accent then practise pronunciation.

        Research the most commonly asked interview questions and formulate the perfect answer that depicts your interest and skills. Make sure to practise your non-verbal behaviour, such as hand movements, posture and even smiling, as this is vital in creating the best first impression. Studies of the employment process indicate that 65-70% of hiring decisions may be based on non-verbal communication. If you feel the need to walk around your home voicing your answers out loud like a crazy person, do it.

        4.    Take Time to Search for Your Dream Job.

        When unemployed, use different resources to find job ads to fit your requirements.

          Don’t start applying to the first job advertisement you see, rather take the time to figure out what classifies as your dream job and use a variety of tools to find the perfect employer. Use multiple job-hunting sites, such as GlassDoor, Monster, Indeed.com, CareerBuilder and LinkedIn Job Seeker Premium (by upgrading your account) to look for jobs based on your salary requirements, position, location and skill set. A lot of these sites now feature reviews, salaries, and information about the company culture so that you can learn everything you need to know before you apply to ensure that it is the best fit for you.

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          5.    Put Effort into Developing a Great Portfolio.

          Take your best work and make a portfolio that you can show to your interviewer.

            Many jobs require for the candidate to provide the employer with a portfolio showcasing their best and latest work; this can be a deal breaker if your portfolio lacks in presentation and quality. Take this opportunity to work on your portfolio by adding new content, purchasing a new binder, or creating title pages. Anything that would make you stand out from other candidates can significantly help your application during the evaluation process. Make sure that it is clean (no coffee stains!) and that the first page includes a hard copy of your resume. Divide your portfolio by sections and use sheet protectors to ensure that your work is safe from fingerprints and accidental dog drool.

            6.    Become a Freelancer.

            You don't have to sit without a job, become a freelancer to pay bills and learn new skills.

              Our office is now our computer with the Internet bringing work to the worker not the other way around. If you are a marketer, graphic designer, web developer, copywriter, artist or editor, this a great opportunity for you to work for international companies from the comfort of your home. A freelance job can help pay for your bills while you search for your dream job. Begin by searching for contract jobs on Freelancer, Guru, and Upwork. Additionally, if you land a great gig, you can add it to your work experience, further boosting your image in the employer’s eyes.

              7.    Pick Up a Hobby.

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              Do not despair when you're unemployed, go for a run!

                Everyone has at least one thing they love to do but never seem to have time for. Whether it’s going to the gym, knitting, biking, spending time with family and friends or learning to meditate, now is your chance to grow as an individual and experience all of the beautiful things that life has to offer. Let your creativity blossom and you will soon find happiness where there was fear.

                8.    Spend Time with Friends and Family.

                Enjoy being unemployed by spending time with people that matter to you

                  We often neglect the people that matter the most, especially when we are pulling 12-hour days or are on strict project deadlines. Call up a friend that you haven’t seen in a while, or a relative that you have ignored, and schedule a time to meet with them. Go for a walk, cook some lovely dish together, enjoy the experience and replace distance with closeness.

                  Conclusion

                  You may have found yourself without a job but there is no need to despair. By planning out your days and establishing a routine, you can turn unemployment into a positive situation that can help you transform your insecurities into advantages. Every negative situation will have something positive — even a dead clock shows the right time twice a day. After all, unemployment is temporary, though how you make the most of it is what counts.

                  Featured photo credit: Marsmettn Tallahassee via flickr.com

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                  Last Updated on August 16, 2018

                  10 Huge Differences Between A Boss And A Leader

                  10 Huge Differences Between A Boss And A Leader

                  When you try to think of a leader at your place of work, you might think of your boss – you know, the supervisor in the tasteful office down the hall.

                  However, bosses are not the only leaders in the office, and not every boss has mastered the art of excellent leadership. Maybe the best leader you know is the co-worker sitting at the desk next to yours who is always willing to loan out her stapler and help you problem solve.

                  You see, a boss’ main priority is to efficiently cross items off of the corporate to-do list, while a true leader both completes tasks and works to empower and motivate the people he or she interacts with on a daily basis.

                  A leader is someone who works to improve things instead of focusing on the negatives. People acknowledge the authority of a boss, but people cherish a true leader.

                  Puzzled about what it takes to be a great leader? Let’s take a look at the difference between a boss and a leader, and why cultivating quality leadership skills is essential for people who really want to make a positive impact.

                  1. Leaders are compassionate human beings; bosses are cold.

                  It can be easy to equate professionalism with robot-like impersonal behavior. Many bosses stay holed up in their offices and barely ever interact with staff.

                  Even if your schedule is packed, you should always make time to reach out to the people around you. Remember that when you ask someone to share how they are feeling, you should be prepared to be vulnerable and open in your communication as well.

                  Does acting human at the office sound silly? It’s not.

                  A lack of compassion in the office leads to psychological turmoil, whereas positive connection leads to healthier staff.[1]

                  If people feel that you are being open, honest and compassionate with them, they will feel able to approach your office with what is on their minds, leading to a more productive and stress-free work environment.

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                  2. Leaders say “we”; bosses say “I”.

                  Practice developing a team-first mentality when thinking and speaking. In meetings, talk about trying to meet deadlines as a team instead of using accusatory “you” phrases. This makes it clear that you are a part of the team, too, and that you are willing to work hard and support your team members.

                  Let me explain:

                  A “we” mentality shifts the office dynamic from “trying to make the boss happy” to a spirit of teamwork, goal-setting, and accomplishment.

                  A “we” mentality allows for the accountability and community that is essential in the modern day workplace.

                  3. Leaders develop and invest in people; bosses use people.

                  Unfortunately, many office climates involve people using others to get what they want or to climb the corporate ladder. This is another example of the “me first” mentality that is so toxic in both office environments and personal relationships.

                  Instead of using others or focusing on your needs, think about how you can help other people grow.

                  Use your building blocks of compassion and team-mentality to stay attuned to the needs of others note the areas in which you can help them develop. A great leader wants to see his or her people flourish.

                  Make a list of ways you can invest in your team members to help them develop personally and professionally, and then take action!

                  4. Leaders respect people; bosses are fear-mongering.

                  Earning respect from everyone on your team will take time and commitment, but the rewards are worth every ounce of effort.

                  A boss who is a poor leader may try to control the office through fear and bully-like behavior. Employees who are petrified about their performance or who feel overwhelmed and stressed by unfair deadlines are probably working for a boss who uses a fear system instead of a respect system.

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                  What’s the bottom line?

                  Work to build respect among your team by treating everyone with fairness and kindness. Maintain a positive tone and stay reliable for those who approach you for help.

                  5. Leaders give credit where it’s due; bosses only take credits.

                  Looking for specific ways to gain respect from your colleagues and employees? There is no better place to start than with the simple act of giving credit where it is due.

                  Don’t be tempted to take credit for things you didn’t do, and always go above and beyond to generously acknowledge those who worked on a project and performed well.

                  You might be wondering how you can get started:

                  • Begin by simply noticing which team member contributes what during your next project at work.
                  • If possible, make mental notes. Remember that these notes should not be about ways in which team members are failing, but about ways in which they are excelling.
                  • Depending on your leadership style, let people know how well they are doing either in private one-on-one meetings or in a group setting. Be honest and generous in your communication about a person’s performance.

                  6. Leaders see delegation as their best friend; bosses see it as an enemy.

                  If delegation is a leader’s best friend, then micromanagement is the enemy.

                  Delegation equates to trust and micromanagement equates to distrust. Nothing is more frustrating for an employee than feeling that his or her every movement is being critically observed.

                  Encourage trust in your office by delegating important tasks and acknowledging that your people are capable, smart individuals who can succeed!

                  Delegation is a great way to cash in on the positive benefits of a psychological phenomenon called a self-fulfilling prophecy. In a self-fulfilling prophecy, a person’s expectations of another person can cause the expectations to be fulfilled.[2]

                  In other words, if you truly believe that your team member can handle a project or task, he or she is more likely to deliver.

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                  Learn how to delegate in my other article:

                  How to Delegate Work (the Definitive Guide for Successful Leaders)

                  7. Leaders work hard; bosses let others do the work.

                  Delegation is not an excuse to get out of hard work. Instead of telling people to go accomplish the hardest work alone, make it clear that you are willing to pitch in and help with the hardest work of all when the need arises.

                  Here’s the deal:

                  Showing others that you work hard sets the tone for your whole team and will spur them on to greatness.

                  The next time you catch yourself telling someone to “go”, a.k.a accomplish a difficult task alone, change your phrasing to “let’s go”, showing that you are totally willing to help and support.

                  8. Leaders think long-term; bosses think short-term.

                  A leader who only utilizes short-term thinking is someone who cannot be prepared or organized for the future. Your colleagues or staff members need to know that they can trust you to have a handle on things not just this week, but next month or even next year.

                  Display your long-term thinking skills in group talks and meetings by sharing long-term hopes or concerns. Create plans for possible scenarios and be prepared for emergencies.

                  For example, if you know that you are losing someone on your team in a few months, be prepared to share a clear plan of how you and the remaining team members can best handle the change and workload until someone new is hired.

                  9. Leaders are like your colleagues; bosses are just bosses.

                  Another word for colleague is collaborator. Make sure your team knows that you are “one of them” and that you want to collaborate or work side by side.

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                  Not getting involved in the going ons of the office is a mistake because you will miss out on development and connection opportunities.

                  As our regular readers know, I love to remind people of the importance of building routines into each day. Create a routine that encourages you to leave your isolated office and collaborate with others. Spark healthy habits that benefit both you and your co-workers.

                  10. Leaders put people first; bosses put results first.

                  Bosses without crucial leadership training may focus on process and results instead of people. They may stick to a pre-set systems playbook even when employees voice new ideas or concerns.

                  Ignoring people’s opinions for the sake of company tradition like this is never truly beneficial to an organization.

                  Here’s what I mean by process over people:

                  Some organizations focus on proper structures or systems as their greatest assets instead of people. I believe that people lend real value to an organization, and that focusing on the development of people is a key ingredient for success in leadership.

                  Learning to be a leader is an ongoing adventure.

                  This list of differences makes it clear that, unlike an ordinary boss, a leader is able to be compassionate, inclusive, generous, and hard-working for the good of the team.

                  Instead of being a stereotypical scary or micromanaging-obsessed boss, a quality leader is able to establish an atmosphere of respect and collaboration.

                  Whether you are new to your work environment or a seasoned administrator, these leadership traits will help you get a jump start so that you can excel as a leader and positively impact the people around you.

                  For more inspiration and guidance, you can even start keeping tabs on some of the world’s top leadership experts. With an adventurous and positive attitude, anyone can learn good leadership.

                  Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

                  Reference

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