I’ve received a number of emails from disgruntled job seekers who feel discriminated against because they are not currently employed. This disconnect between employers looking for qualified candidates to fill demanding positions and available candidates to take those roles is increasing. It is painful to hear qualified candidates complain that they are not employable because they aren’t working.
First of all, that bitter attitude is not going to get you anywhere. I know not working is painful, not just financially but also on your self-esteem. I get it, I’ve been there. All is not lost, here are three suggestions on how to changing your status from Unemployed to Employable Candidate.
TURN THAT FROWN UPSIDE DOWN. Nobody wants to bring in an employee in a bad mood. I’m actually surprised at how many cover letters we receive where candidates blatantly discuss their disgruntled feelings over being passed over because they are unemployed. If you’re depressed and show it, you will be disqualified regardless of your employment status.
Master Zen Buddhist teacher Thich Nhat Hahn suggests pausing to cultivate joy by putting a smile on your face. My smiling, you’re bringing in joy whether or not it is present. It sounds silly but this really works. If you feel yourself fretting and frowning, stop, let it pass and put a smile on your face. I swear this actually makes you feel better.
I like to invite positive messaging into my daily thoughts. If I feel myself grunting through my day, I pause and remind myself, “I deserve to be employed, my job is coming.” If you’re playing a negative tape over and over in your head saying that you’re not getting a job because you’re not working, you are manifesting this as a truth. Cut that mental bad thoughts habit by inviting in positive messaging. Simply reminding yourself you’re talented and deserve to be working will change your attitude. It takes practice but it works.
And if this doesn’t work, rent a really funny movie and watch it over and over, read The Onion, download a jokes app on your phone, whatever will make you Smile again.
GET SMART. You've got the time, why not head back to school Whether it be a class or a full course load, being in school is a great explanation for why your'e not working. Taking time from work to get academic is an empressive endeavor. The government offers grants to the unemployed to go back to school, most schools have a decent financial aid offering or check out the offerings at your local community collge. Considering learning a trade? Go for it! Why not learn about how to repair a car or oil paint. Keeping your mind sharp by expanding it with new skills can be very rewarding. Pick a subject that interests you and go for it.
CREATE YOUR OWN JOB. So you don’t have formal job, create one! Yes, create your own job. I do it all the time. Isn’t that the mark of a good marketer? When I’m in between jobs, I do some consulting. Over the past few years, I’ve developed a personal brand to impress marketability and hire-ability. I get out there and create jobs, even if it means working for friends and small businesses at a discounted rate, working is better than being depressed about not working. Make yourself look busy by being busy. If I know small businesses that need marketing, I barter my services or work cheaply to keep the work ball rolling. You’re not getting paid right now, so don’t worry so much about the money as getting yourself off the pity pot and back into work mode.
DO SOMETHING NICE. You have skills and talents, don’t let them go to waste. Get out there and offer yourself to companies who need you. How about volunteering what you do at a non-profit organization. When I was in between jobs once, I did some volunteering for a local food pantry. They desperately needed help with marketing, social media, Facebook page creation and all kinds of stuff. It was a pleasure going into work a couple of days a week to help them out and kept me working while hunting for a more permanent position. It felt good to do some community service and to suit up and show up to an office that appreciated me and needed me.
Of course, none of these are a substitute for an actual real job, but at least smiling and filling your days with meaningful work oriented tasks will feel a lot better than intimately learning the OWN programming schedule in your pajamas on the couch with a bag of chips. Manifesting busy work and joy will give you some things to put on your resume so that potential employers can see you’re working and that you’re willing to do positive deeds for others. You might be surprised to discover what comes your way when you’re presenting yourself as a busy person in the world. Go get em tiger… and SMILE!
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