Tuesday, January 31, 2012

A Plan for the Long-Term Unemployed to Find Work

You're long-term unemployed and perhaps scared you'll never work again, at least not at the level you used to.

Here's a potent plan for moving forward and finding good work:

1. Do a personal audit. Sure, some people are long-term unemployed just because of bad luck, but the pool of people who are long-term unemployed, is, on average, not as bright, knowledgeable, hard-working, reliable, and enjoyable to work with as is the pool of employed people.

So imagine that all the people who know your work well were in a room. For each of the above attributes, what would be the average report card grade they'd give you. If you're not sure, ask people, perhaps anonymously, perhaps using www.checkster.com. In light of that feedback, do you need to make changes in yourself to avoid being quickly fired or laid off again? To become prouder of yourself?

2. Contact your existing network. They're the most likely to be willing to hire or give a good lead to a long-term unemployed person.

3. Cold-contact realistic employers. A brand-name company or a company in a popular field, for example, fashion, entertainment, or the environment, is too unlikely to have to hire a long-term unemployed person--they usually receive plenty applications from the currently well-employed. You may eventually get to work for a highly selective employer but, as a long-term unemployed person, you probably should, for now, focus on landing a job at a company with less stringent hiring requirements. Here's how:
  • Make a list of 20-50 less-competitive employers: non-sexy industries, smaller companies, temp agencies, etc. Don't worry whether an employer lists an appropriate job opening. You're mainly trying to get a job/project created for you so you don't have to compete with hordes for an advertised job. HERE are some sources of employers.
  • Find the name and contact info of people with the power to hire you: by Googling, databases like Jigsaw, the company operator, etc.
  • Phone those employers, or even walk in. Leaving voice-mail is okay. Don't send your resume unless asked--The resume of a long-term-unemployed person highlights that ugly gap in your employment.
4. Consider starting your own very simple business. If I were long-term unemployed and broke, I might, for example, start a shoeshine stand on a busy downtown street. I'd have prominent signage with a catchy name like Shine On, Rise and Shine, Dianne FeinShine, or So Fine Shoe Shine. Once I learned the art and business of shoeshining, I'd set up a trusted friend with another shoeshine stand, asking for a small percentage of sales. I'd keep cloning that business until I was making enough money. Then I'd sell the business and use the proceeds to start another simple business, for example, a soup cart chain called Souper. As a long-term unemployed person, in the above situation, I'm likely to more quickly and probably enjoyably make a middle-class living or even get wealthy doing that than if I tried to convince an employer to pay me a middle-class salary.

5. Go back to school to prepare for a new career. A community college training program can give you a fresh start. Already have a degree? Remember that many people with bachelor's and even graduate degrees return to a community college for practical career training.

But most important, could your being long-term unemployed be a needed wake-up call? What should you do differently on your next job to avoid being dumped again?


Anonymous said...

Here's another one:

Consider changing careers and/or locales. You may be looking for work in a declining field or locale. Some fields and locales are performing better than others when it comes to opportunities.

PostCollegiate said...

These are all good suggestions, especially the recommendation to use Checkster!


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