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Job Hunting, Jobseekers' Perspective

A New Job… In the Unemployment Line

There’s a line from a recent song by the Irish band The Script:

 “She needs me now but I can’t seem to find the time / I got a new job now in the unemployment line…”

Judging by the comments I hear from my clients, particularly newly unemployed customers, they haven’t yet figured out that searching for a job has just become their job. By the time they’ve figured that out, several months of benefits have already been used up, and they’re that much closer to running out of money.

I got a phone call from a jobseeker yesterday saying she had just exhausted the last of her benefits and was just now thinking about retraining. The problem is that although I can refer her to retraining funding through the Workforce Investment Act (WIA), their counselors will ask how she’s going to pay for living expenses while she’s going to school. Earlier on she could have said she is collecting Unemployment but that is now gone. WIA funds only cover costs of training; they will probably not be granted to a person who cannot afford to stay in school.

So early on I teach my clients my mantra:

Finding a fulltime job IS a fulltime job.

You’ve got a lot to do: write your resume, research your local labor market, attend job search workshops, job clubs and hiring events, prepare for job interviews, expand your professional network, prepare and perfect your LinkedIn profile (or other social media profile used for job search purposes), do informational interviewing, target your resume for specific job announcements, and… oh yes… look for jobs!

So a job search should be treated like a job. Get up the same time in the morning as you would if you were going in to work. Get dressed—don’t be tempted to do your online job search in pajamas. Get out and be with people just as you would if you were employed. One thing that commonly happens when people lose their employment is they lose that social aspect of talking with customers, coworkers, etc. Join job clubs, attend workshops, do job search from the library or even a local coffee shop that has Wi-Fi. Don’t isolate yourself.

Budget your time the way you would when you are working. Make a list of tasks that have to be completed and be generous when allotting time. Allow time for breaks and lunch. Know when to call it a day.

Make the decision whether to seek retraining early. Some elements of the retraining process can be time-critical. Some quick and easy research of the local labor market can determine if your occupation is currently in high demand and if you currently have all the education required to obtain employment in that field. This research can save a lot of time and headache in the long run. A good place to start researching your occupation is O*Net at www.onetonline.org.

Family and friends tend to underestimate the impact of unemployment on a person. While they will probably realize how it can affect your pocketbook, others tend to think you have more time on your hands now. Well-meaning spouses or roommates may impose “honey-do” lists, since you’re home anyway. Don’t be hesitant to show them your full calendar if they doubt you.

So I repeat: finding a fulltime job IS a fulltime job.


About kimberlyjmyers

I am a workforce development professional in Washington State. I have ten years experience working with dislocated workers, vocationally impaired, and people with disabilities on many levels and backgrounds from offenders to non-English speaking refugees from around the world. The One thing the clients I have worked with all had in common: there was some barrier to employment, and I work diligently every day to identify, address and remove those barriers.


One thought on “A New Job… In the Unemployment Line

  1. I would add, stick to your calendar, and do every task you have to.

    Posted by Beverly | February 19, 2013, 2:42 am

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