I Hate Explaining Why I'm Still Unemployed
‘JT & Dale Talk Jobs’ is the largest nationally syndicated career advice column in the country and can be found at JTandDale.com. Dear J.T. & Dale: I've been out of work for more than 12 months. I've completely lost my motivation to look for a job. I don't go out anymore because I hate running into people and having to explain I'm still unemployed. What can someone like me do to finally get a decent job? — Harris J.T.: Given that the average length of unemployment in the U.S. is running just over seven months, you should know that you are not alone. I realize that doesn't solve your problem, but I hope that you can believe "it's not personal." A prolonged job search can make us feel like we are flawed, but it's usually the job-search strategy that is flawed. For example, if a company creates marketing materials and sends them out only to get zero responses, it goes back to the drawing board to figure out how it can change and improve. You need to do the same. Dale: Yes, it's time for massive change. Let's start with advice from Chris Tidball (author of "Kicked to the Curb"): "Think of your household as a business and look for revenue opportunities ... odd jobs, freelance work, starting a business or getting a part-time job." A bit of income will make a huge difference, and will give you something to talk about when running into friends. Plus, you need a radical approach to networking — stop talking about being out of work, and start asking questions, particularly asking people you meet if they know anyone at the companies on your target list. Help them help you, and the conversation won't be awkward. J.T.: Meanwhile, redo your resume, revamp your online profile and re-write your cover letters. The same goes for in-person networking. In short, give your job search a complete overhaul, and you can cheerfully tell yourself and others that you just restarted your job search. Jeanine "J.T." Tanner O'Donnell is a professional development specialist and the founder of the consulting firm, jtodonnell.com, and of the blog, CAREEREALISM.com. Dale Dauten resolves employment and other business disputes as a mediator with AgreementHouse.com. Please visit them at jtanddale.com, where you can send questions via e-mail, or write to them in care of King Features Syndicate, 300 W. 57th St, 15th Floor, New York, NY 10019. © 2010 by King Features Syndicate, Inc. The photo for this article is provided by Shutterstock.