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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 July 10, 2020

                  Feeling Stuck in Your Career? How to Break Free and Get Ahead

                  Feeling Stuck in Your Career? How to Break Free and Get Ahead

                  Have you ever caught yourself in a daydream where you’ve gone for that upcoming promotion, and you’re now the boss at work? Or how about the one where you’ve summoned up all your courage to quit a job where you’re feeling stuck in your career and live your dream instead? Or when you’ve changed career paths to do what really makes you happy?

                  Then, you snapped back to reality and realized that you’re not the boss, not living your dream, and not even happy in the career path that you’re on.

                  Over the years I’ve worked with hundreds of individuals who’ve told me they feel stuck in their careers, that something had to change for them to break free and be happy, but they lacked the confidence to take that step. My mission is to make sure that nobody feels stuck in their career because of a momentary lapse in bravery that’s dragged on for too long.

                  Read on to find out how you can stop feeling stuck in your career, break free, and get ahead at work. .

                  Here are my top ten tips for becoming unstuck in your career.

                  1. Make Time for You

                  If you’re feeling stuck, frustrated, or unhappy with how your career is panning out, the first step is to work out why.

                  Maybe you’ve arrived in your current career by accident and haven’t ever made time to deliberately think or plan what you’d love to do and how you’d get there.

                  Prioritizing time to think is the first step you need to take to stop feeling stuck and start getting ahead. Book some time into your day where you can have an uninterrupted meeting with yourself. This is your thinking time.

                  Work out what makes you happy at work, what doesn’t, and where you might want to go. Decide on the steps you want to take to progress your career in the direction that you want it to take.

                  For example, are there training days, evening courses, or online learning that you can do? Have you considered getting a mentor to help you get ahead?

                  By booking in a meeting with yourself, it signals it’s important (to you and your colleagues) and also stops others spotting a gap in your day and filling it with a meeting.

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                  2. Grow Your Network Before You Need It

                  Who you know is more important than what you know for career progression. Don’t wait until you’re feeling stuck in your career to start expanding your networks. Do it now.

                  Adam Grant, the author of Give and Take, says you’re 58% more likely to get a new job through your weak ties than through your strong ones. Your strong ties are those in your immediate circle whom you interact with often. Your weak ties are your friends of friends. They move in different circles to you, they know different people, make different connections, and are more likely to introduce you to new and different opportunities[1].

                  When I was thinking about setting up my current company, Lucidity, I turned up to every networking event. I drank a lot of coffees with a lot of different people to understand what they did, to ask for advice, to unpick what their problems were, and to look for opportunities for collaboration and connections.

                  It paid off because, when I launched my business, I let my network know how I could help them, and soon I had my first clients.

                  Pay attention to building and nurturing your networks and focus on how you can add value to other. That’s where your next career opportunity is most likely to come from.

                  3. Surround Yourself With People Who Inspire You

                  According to Tim Ferriss, “You are the average of the five people you most associate with,” and his associations with different people ebbs and flows depending on what he’s working on and trying to achieve[2].

                  For example, if you are trying to be fitter, it’s easier if you hang around with people who love doing exercise–they help you to up your game.

                  If you want that promotion, a career change, or to set up your own business, seek out people who are excelling at it already. They’ll have valuable things to teach you about breaking free and getting ahead.

                  4. Work on Your Personal Brand

                  Jeff Bezos defines a personal brand as “what people say about you when you’re not in the room.” People will talk about you when you are not in the room anyway, so you might as well be deliberate about what you’d like people to say!

                  Your personal brand isn’t about pretending to be something you’re not. That can actually keep you feeling stuck in your career. It’s really about being your best “real you.” It’s about owning your strengths and being purposeful about how you want to be perceived by others.

                  What do you want to be known for? By being more deliberate about how you want to come across and what you’re looking for in your career, you’ll increase your chance of attracting the right opportunities.

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                  Once you’ve given your personal brand some thought, make sure that you show up online. Is your LinkedIn profile up to date? And if you don’t have one, get one. Make sure it communicates what you want to be known for and that it’s consistent with your other social media profiles.

                  Try these 5 Steps to Master Networking Skills and Perfect Your Personal Branding.

                  5. Be Accountable

                  Achieve your career goals faster, and grow and learn by making yourself accountable. Tell other people your goals and a timeline. and have them to hold you accountable.

                  For example, you might want to get a promotion by the end of the year, have decided the sector you want to move to by the end of the month, or have got your new business idea before the next pay day. Whatever your ambitions are, you can tell a friend or a colleague, or share this with a mentor or a mastermind group.

                  When we tell other people our goals and intentions, they hold us accountable, and we are more likely to make progress faster.

                  6. Make Sure Your Values Are Aligned With Your Company’s

                  All the professional development, goal setting, and networks in the world won’t make you happy if you’re working for a company that ultimately has opposing values to yours.

                  Figure out what’s important to you in a job. For example, does your company’s product help people live a better life? Do you feel strongly about your company’s ethics and social responsibility? Does the company culture allows employees to be themselves and shine? Or maybe flexible working and more holidays for employees with families is where your heart is?

                  Some companies put their employees well-being at the core of their business; others put profits first. If you feel that your values don’t match the core values of your employer, it could be a reason why you’re feeling stuck in your career and unhappy.

                  It’s important to work through this and identify whether it’s the job that is not right for you, or if it’s a great job but the organization or sector is wrong for you.

                  7. Get out of Your Comfort Zone

                  Your comfort zone is your safe place. For any change to happen, you have to step out of your comfort zone.

                  It’s actually much easier not to change anything and to keep grumbling on about how you’re stuck and unhappy in your career than to step outside of your comfort zone to address the fearful unknowns associated with change. It’s part of human nature that we’d put up with the devil we know rather than risk the devil we don’t.

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                  This is true even if the devil we know is a boring, unfulfilling job because we’re wired to think that making a change to find a better option might actually leave us worse off.

                  If you feel stuck, it might be that your confidence has got the better of you.

                  To get ahead at work, start taking small steps outside of your comfort zone. Consider what you’re scared of that is stopping you from making a change. Then, tackle that in small steps.

                  For example, if you know that to move into the job you want, you’ll have to do more public speaking, but public speaking terrifies you so much it’s stopping you from going for the job, then start small to build your confidence. You can speak up more in team meetings, then slowly build from there.

                  You might also choose to set up or be part of a specific group. One of my clients, who found that confidence was holding her team back in achieving work goals, set up a “get out of your comfort zone club,” where they challenge and support each other to build their confidence by regularly leaving their comfort zones.

                  8. Learn to Embrace Failure

                  Failure is part of life. A New York University study found that children learning to walk averaged 2,368 steps and fell 17 times an hour[3]. Failure is simply the natural path to success.

                  The truth is that we don’t get everything right the first time. We fail, we learn, we pick ourselves up, and we try again.

                  In my experience, it’s common that whilst the theory of learning from failure is supported, the reality of being open about failures to enable personal learning is much harder to achieve.

                  We don’t like to admit that we’ve failed. We have a fight or flight response to failure. It’s a normal gut reaction to ask ourselves: “Will I get away with it if I don’t tell anyone?” We are fearful of criticism, of losing face in front of others, or even being fired for failure.

                  However, if you’re going to stop feeling stuck in your career, you must be open to learning from failure.

                  Reframe failure by viewing everything as an experiment because you can’t have a failed experiment—you just learn whether something works or not. Think of Edison inventing the lightbulb, when he said:

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                  “I’ve not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”

                  9. Build Your Resilience

                  Resilience is the ability to tackle difficulties and setbacks, to bounce back, regroup, and to keep going.

                  Getting unstuck in your career, taking a different path, and achieving the results you want will take resilience. Having resilience is also the capacity to choose how you respond to the unexpected things that life throws your way and adapt and thrive in times of complex change.

                  Given that the world we live in is in constant flux, and the only thing that is certain is uncertainty, the ability to adapt and bounce back is an important life skill, as well as a career skill.

                  In her book Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance, Angela Duckworth’s research shows that when measuring success, the ability to persevere beats talent every time.

                  Learn more about how to build resilience in this guide: What Is Resilience and How to Always Be Resilient (Step-By-Step Guide)

                  10. Ask for Help

                  It can be hard to ask for help, as it can make us feel vulnerable.

                  No one person can be expected to have all the answers. That’s why we need a group of people that we can go to for help, people who can pick us up when we have setbacks and also help us to celebrate success.

                  My advice is to be deliberate about creating your group. You can do that with a tool called a “Me Map”:

                  1. Write down all the things that you might need support with, like help with career progression, interview practice, making new connections, talking through business plans, learning from failure, etc.
                  2. Next to each thing, write the names of the people you go to when you need that particular thing.
                  3. Make sure you get in touch and regularly connect with them.

                  Final Thoughts

                  You can stop feeling stuck in your career, break free, and get ahead at work by applying the tips in this article. Start small by incorporating three new things in your first week, and then adding more as your comfort zone and capacity expands.

                  Remember, no matter how stuck you feel, it’s never too late to make a change and land the career that you truly want.

                  More Tips to Stop Feeling Stuck in Your Career

                  Featured photo credit: NEW DATA SERVICES via unsplash.com

                  Reference

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