Take a look at employability expert Shamila Mhearban’s previous challenges
Being professional and unemployed is tough. I know, I’ve been there myself. The applications, which seem to disappear into a black hole; the effort and preparation for interviews, where the only feedback you receive is ‘not enough experience’ and the self-doubt and feelings of failure that follow. Job centre and recruitment agencies lack of personal or honest advice and support made me come to the glaring realisation that I was, to them, just a statistic. I was not alone! Time and time again, in my role as a recruitment consultant, I came across people who felt that the job centre, supposedly there to actively help them find their next role, only brought frustration and lowered self-esteem. So, rather than continue to be part of the problem, I decided to start becoming the solution for professionals who are trying to survive unemployment.
But first, the practical aspect to survive as an unemployed professional -
The obvious one I know. How much do I have? How much can I get? Will it be enough?
This is something that every job seeker should ensure they know about. Providing you have made enough NI contribution you are legally entitled to government help through benefits if you are unemployed. These may not be available immediately if you have been fired or been made redundant.
However you could go to www.turn2us.org.uk to get a full breakdown of any benefits you may be entitled to.
Making the transition from working 40 hours a week, to zilch is difficult. Working in recruitment, a number of individuals came through the door with gaps of up to a year on their CV filled with the statement ‘looking for work’.
I know it’s easy to get consumed in your job search but only “looking for work” and having no other activities will leave you disadvantaged. Apply for voluntary work (most will pay your travel costs) is a free way of ensuring that you keep your hand in the employment market and avoid having gaps on your CV – something that future employers will value. For example someone started as a volunteer for the charity VSO, whilst looking for work as a finance administrator, a role she wasn’t particularly excited by but it paid the bills. She now works as a campaigns manager at VSO and couldn’t be happier. Explore every option – you may be surprised!
Go to www.charityjob.co.uk to get an up to date idea of any volunteer roles that may be available.
Doing something everyday
When looking for work set yourself achievable daily or weekly targets. Instead of pursuing the holy grail that is ‘A Job’ break it down to manageable activities. It maybe that you want to apply to a certain number of jobs or get in touch with a certain number of business contacts etc. and do them without fail. That sense of ‘doing something’ no matter how small, everyday will give you a sense of achievement whilst keeping your job search manageable.
Finally know your weaknesses and work on them. Are you completely confident with the CV that you’re forwarding to employers? How do you fare with interviews? How proactive are you with your job search? Do you know your market?
How I became the solution
I set up Brighter Mondays to focus specifically on the above as I know how important they are. I work with candidates focusing on the job market to offer them practical advice and support in finding their next job through one on one consultations and workshops. I am running a workshop in Central London on the 26th January. Get in touch if you need help in any of the above areas and start 2012 looking forward to some Brighter Mondays!