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How To Deal With Being Out Of Work For The First Time

How To Deal With Being Out Of Work For The First Time

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I was walking to my Commencement Ceremony with two of my pals from college. It was a May morning wearing the disguise of a mid-August afternoon – uncomfortably humid and the sun was merciless.

Related: 5 Things You Should Be Doing If You’re Unemployed

On the way to campus, an older woman stopped us in our tracks.

“Congratulations,” she began with a smile beaming at us like the hot sun “you guys should be so proud of yourselves.”

Graduation is a big deal. It is the culmination of your career as a student and the beginning of the rest of your life. Taking that step is something worthy of congratulations, yet I didn’t feel like being congratulated.

Maybe it was because all my classmates and I kept hearing about for weeks leading up to graduation was how hard it was going to be for us to find full-time work so we could pay off our loans so that we could finally begin our lives.

Or maybe it was because we were about to be handed a ton of responsibility, the likes of which we’ve never seen before.

Graduation is not to be a scary day, but it is quickly becoming one.

For some, jobs were already lined up or maybe interviews were on the horizon. But, for many, the only certainty was that loans were going to start kicking in very soon.

Finding a job in this day and age is a whole new animal compared to what it was like even five years ago. Most likely, you’re going to spend hours on your computer, scouring the likes of Indeed, Monster, and CareerBuilder.

How do you go about getting an interview in this seemingly hopeless situation? Well, there are a few tips for those trying to sort through these murky waters.

1. Realize You’re Not Alone

The first thing one has to do is come to terms with the unfortunate truth that you are one of thousands of people looking for jobs on these sites and these people are just as desperate as you are, you need to find a way to get your resume in front of the right pair of eyes.

2. Do Your Research

A less frustrating method of job hunting would be to research the space you want to find a job in and figure out what companies in this space are hiring. Find out who is running HR and send them your cover letter and CV directly. This will give your application a better chance of being noticed by the right person.

3. Don’t Let Job Search Consume Your Life

The most important thing about looking for a job is to not let it get to you. Make sure you are not letting your job hunt consume your life. Applying to jobs is a time consuming ordeal – every job has a specific application and you need to write a job-specific cover letter. As the saying goes, applying to jobs is a full-time job. Set aside a block of time each day to look for jobs, try not to go over that allotment.

4. Don’t Let Unemployment Define You

What you do away from looking for jobs is important. Do not let the fact you’re out of work define you. When I see someone I know and they ask me what I’m doing with my life, I keep my answer succinct and say that I am deciding between a few things.

5. Learn From Your Experience

At some point everybody is going to go through what you are going through – learn as much as you can from the experience. What you do while you are unemployed can be just as important as your next gig.

6. Stay Busy

Keep busy – find odd jobs, or a temporary gig at a restaurant or store. This will give you more freedom than not having any income at all. If you can’t find work outside of looking for work – keep busy in other ways, if you can travel, do it. Try and visit college friends or family. You have time to work with, don’t let it go to waste – because when you do get that job there are going to be times where you’re going to wish you had seen more of the world while you had the time to do so.

7. Don’t Get Intimidated

Last but certainly not least, do not get intimidated by the dire times we are currently traversing through. It will get better and that dream offer you’ve been waiting for is going to come at some point.

Be persistent, be flexible and the rest will come.

This post was originally published at an earlier date.

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Photo Credit: Shutterstock


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Michael Leboff Michael Leboff is a 23-year-old Freelancer from Long Island. His memoirs, Unpaid, based on his internship behind the scenes in the NHL is due out in the near future.