If so, you are part of the so called “long-term unemployed” folks. This is Part II of our 2-part series (please see Part I for tips 1 to 4) designed to assist people in this situation. While things seem to be improving on the Calgary employment scene, we still have a high percentage of long-term unemployed workers; 20.3% of total unemployed people are classified as long-term unemployed.

5. Focus Your Search: At first this may seem counter-intuitive. Why would it be beneficial to cut down on the number of job applications or eliminate some possibilities? It turns out that if you focus your search on what you’re really interested in, your network now knows how to help you. If you’re very clear about what you want to do, you can now ask for introductions to people that do that work and are in organizations that are of interest. Think back to your “Value Proposition” (discussed in Part I) and find the work and organizations that would benefit most from what you do.

6. Volunteer: Volunteering is a good way to get back in the game. People who have been out of work for an extended time have likely lost contact with some connections. Volunteering also introduces you to a whole new set of connections. Various studies have shown that volunteering shortens job search times by 7% to 27%. Be sure to pick something that you truly enjoy and that uses skills that you want to use in the workplace rather than thinking about the outcome of getting a job. You may also want to set a cap on the amount of time you commit to volunteering. It’s easy to have this component dominate your job search activities without careful planning. In Calgary, Propellus Volunteer Connector is a great place to browse various opportunities. Feel free to access two other Cenera blog postings on volunteering; here and here.

7. Career Change: In some cases, it may be advisable to consider a career change. Some people may already have some ideas about what they would like to do, others may be uncertain. One suggestion if you are not sure is to take an assessment. One particular tool that many clients have found helpful is the StrengthsFinder. As the name implies, it will help you identify your strengths, and give you some wording that you might use to describe them. An added benefit is that it aids in bringing back some long-lost confidence! Another suggestion is to visit your neighbourhood library and wander the books. Take note of where you are drawn. There may be something work related that is worth exploring. Once you have a target, find and talk to people that are doing the work. Ask questions. What’s it like to do the work on a daily basis? Do they recommend education pieces, or can you get into the work with your current skills? If you can’t do the work right away, are there stepping stones that will get you closer to your target.

8. Be OK with It: You are basically the same person as when you were working. In fact, you may be more valuable to an employer now. Reflecting on your current situation may allow you to bring a certain grounding when you do land in a new role. You bring much to the table. Don’t allow the fact that you have not been in a paid position for an extended period of time diminish the you that you are. Be ready to explain what you’ve been doing which can be going on a sabbatical or spending extended time with your family if that is what you’ve been doing. Do so with your head held high.

Hopefully, this blog will provide some thoughts and ideas for moving forward. Remember that everyone needs help in some form or another from time to time. Job search is a roller coaster of a ride. If you get stuck in one of the dips, reach out to someone you trust who can listen, provide support, and help you regain your momentum. And if you’re not inclined to do so because you don’t want to impose, simply think of how you would feel and what you would do if someone in your situation came to you for help.

Visit our Career Transition page for more information.

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