What If I Get Stuck?

Thu, 19/01/2012 - 17:50 -- nick

This article from careerplan4me is a good one to read when you feel you have done everything you can to look for work but have been unsuccessful. If you feel like you aren't getting anywhere, use this guide to break out of your usual routine and try a different approach. You probably don't need to move anywhere for more opportunities, but you might need to meet new people, go to new support services, develop new skills and think of new ways to present yourself.
'Iain Duncan Smith courted controversy this week by suggesting jobseekers should move to locations with higher employment rates — even if it means travelling hundreds of miles. He feels that the previous administration has created "ghettos of poverty", where climbing out of unemployment was simply impossible as there were no jobs available. So, to misquote The Clash, should you stay or should you go?
Of course, there are pro's and con's to either situation. In an article on Comment Is Free, Diane Abbott argued that the scheme was completely unworkable and didn't take people's personal circumstances into consideration. After all, it might be that staying put is exactly what you and your community need. Up-rooting children could be too much of an upheaval, and there is a need for balance between economic contribution and personal welfare. So the first question to ask is what is best for you and your family?
If you want to stay where you are but are worried about your employment opportunities there are things you can do. You might feel you've tapped into all possible vacancies and applied for many different job board opportunities, but there are ways ahead. Could you use your skills to freelance? Offering to work for companies for a fixed, short period of time might not be ideal but it will be less of a financial commitment and might make it easier for them to say yes. Or you could try the new trend of fractional working, taking on different jobs as and when they become available. This might mean working in a different area for a short time but with a clear end to the contract, it might be easier that completely relocating.
If you've been doing the same job search routine for 2 months and it's not working, do something differently.
First off, it's fundamental to reflect on what you need, want and then pinpoint your transferable skills - the ones that would work for any employer no matter what industry they're in. It's about going back to basics. If you've managed a busy bar, you have customer service skills. If you've been a team leader, you have management skills. Look at how these can be used in the jobs which are available.
Ways of finding work has changed, so it's important to adapt with the times. In fact, a massive 80% of jobs are found through networking, not by job ads or sending out random CVs, so knowing people in your local community will put you in a stronger position. Start talking to people — parents at school or people at the pub or club. You never know who knows who and who might have a job going.
Why not see if there's a local job club? These community-promoted job clubs are far different to those of the past and their success rates are attributed to networking, moral support and volunteer mentoring . It's no wonder more and more job clubs are springing up around the country, enabling people in local communities to help each other.
However you do it, get out there. Make yourself known, secure contracts to earn interim money or volunteer to keep active. Even if you have to work for free for a bit, it can be worth it. All experience can be used as a positive to sell yourself. Plus, if you make yourself indispensable then you've created a job which didn't exist previously, they'll have to pay you to keep you.
But if moving turns out to be the right choice for you, all this advice still applies. On top of this, make sure to use a variety of job sites to search for relevant work in the areas you'd consider. Research companies that outperform the market and contact key individuals to highlight your skills. Even if they're not hiring now, there might be a role that comes up at a later date which suits your skills.
Online social networks can also be an extremely useful and easy opportunity to make yourself known to the right people. Contact new and relevant people daily to build your network. And if you are moving, building up a network in your area before you even get there can make the transition easier. Just make sure you're careful what you put on your profile, this is your online persona and future employers don't need to see pictures of your weekend.
One thing's for certain, it's important to protect your state of mind. Job searching is like a roller coaster. Be aware you'll have ups and downs, so try not to let the downs get to you — everyone has them. Move to the ups as quickly as possible and remember a good attitude can make all the difference.'
Tor Macleod is the co-founder of CareerPlan4.Me
Guardian Online