Don't Let The Unemployment Funk Drag You Down

Nancy Anderson
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When faced with financial responsibilities looming and the desire for a fulfilling career, your job search might cause stress that can lead to anxiety, depression and low self-esteem. Though coping with unemployment is stressful, you can keep yourself from fading into a funk with strategies to put you at the top of the candidate pool.

Keep your mind and your body active during your job search and while coping with unemployment. Focus on professional development to sharpen your skills and give yourself something to distract you from those looming bills. Take online computer classes, enroll in a continuing education course or participate in community charity work and activities to develop skills and contacts in the job market. Join professional organizations to build your network within the industry. These connections may ultimately lead you to a job referral or advice that transforms your job search. Participate in community activities to not only build your professional network but also to restore your sense of self, enhancing your self-esteem and self-confidence in the process.

It can be physically and emotionally draining to sit in front of a computer all day searching for your dream job, so take frequent breaks to keep you body active and your mind refreshed. Enroll in an aerobic or yoga class to free your mind and stretch your body. Take vitamins, drink plenty of water and stay productive around your home during your job search. Establish a consistent schedule that requires you to shower and dress by a certain time each day and block out time specifically for job searching. A consistent schedule can help bring you out of that funk and provide you with a purpose each day.

Target your daily efforts to increase your job opportunities. Instead of spending hours on job sites, narrow your keywords to find opportunities that match your skills and experience. Get out of the house and meet with professionals to review and revamp your resume and cover letter. Focus on how you present yourself professionally, and seek feedback from industry experts to increase job opportunities and polish application materials to make your efforts more productive and worthwhile.

Find ways to add your personality to your application materials. Craft cover letters during your job search customized to each position that use keywords from the job description. Make the most of your time by applying to companies you respect and admire. Your time should also be spent researching companies that have goals and missions directly related to your career goals. Researching a company that possesses a company culture that's an ideal fit for you is time well spent.

It's easy to drift into a lull during your job search. Learn to take care of yourself personally and professionally to beat the blues and find the career of your dreams.

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  • Nancy Anderson
    Nancy Anderson

    @Leah so very true. It's hard to know for sure but, if there is a company that interests you, try making some contacts. Maybe through a friend of a friend or by networking. If you can make a contact, you could ask about the company culture. There are many sites that give job seekers a "view" into the company and its culture. That way you can know whether or not the company is going to be open to your circumstances. It truly is tough being a single Mom and we give you all the credit for doing what you do. I know I was a single parent for years and went through the same thing - what to do when your child is sick. You are right, you have to do whatever you can so that it doesn't interfere with your job. You can't ask that question in an interview so you have to find out through networking, if you can. Do your research before you apply for a position. If the company doesn't appear "family friendly" move on. Best of luck to you.

  • Leah Fuller
    Leah Fuller

    Age discrimination? Really? I'm 37 today. Yes, today's my birthday & I just lost my job 3 weeks ago. Most know that being a single mother is tougher than all get-out! There's a lot of us single moms out there. What do you do if your child is sick? Sometimes there's help, but most of the time there isn't. If the hiring manager is smart you would think it would be best to hire someone who, more than likely, doesn't have dependant children in the household. Since that question cannot be asked in an interview then hiring someone a generation older than me is the better bet. You gotta ask yourself, if that company wants to hire someone younger at a cheaper rate of pay, then is that the 'Company Culture' I'd want to work for. So I guess my point is, we can tell ourselves all these judgemental/discriminatory reasons they didn't hire us, but if you really think about it would you want to work for a place that judges you like that? On the other side of the coin, if it's multiple hiring managers making the same "discrimination" about you then you need to ask yourself what you are portraying. A majority of your success in life is based off of your presentation. How are you portraying yourself to these hiring managers? Be honest with yourself. Open yourself up to self improvement, no matter what your age.

  • Nancy Anderson
    Nancy Anderson

    @Kathy I would have to agree. It can be tough. But there are tons of free things on the Internet. Free classes to add to or update your current skills. As for the professional organizations, that's a hit or miss. You could spend the $$$ to join a professional organization only to find out that you have to spend more to get done what you wanted in the first place. Wish I could do something about the age discrimination. They get around the legalities by asking what year you graduated from high school. Not hard for them to figure out your age. So you have to make sure that you are presenting yourself in the best possible light in both your resume and cover letter. And don't kid yourself - those others do not have perfect backgrounds, either. Most of us are in the same boat. All the best.

  • Kathy L G.
    Kathy L G.

    The advice is always "sign up for classes, join professional organizations". All of these cost money I do not have. Still lots of age and other discrimination out there. Thousands of people looking. Hard to compete without a perfect background.

  • Nancy Anderson
    Nancy Anderson

    @Derek thanks for your comment. I imagine it would be tough to get back into the job market after working for yourself for all of those years. You just have to show your willingness to make the change and to do what it takes to get the job. Don't fib when asked the question about working for someone else. Just let them know your willingness to learn and grow. Let them know that you realize that there will be an adjustment period but that you understand that and are willing. As for the other question - well, sometimes you have to consider taking a lower salary just to get your foot in the door. When they discuss age, that is where you can show your maturity and the depth of your skills as well as the fact that you can hit the ground running whereas a younger candidate would have to learn everything.

  • DEREK D.
    DEREK D.

    I've been self employed for over 25 years. The question I always get is "how do you think you will be able to work for somebody else and how will you react to being told what to do? Ater that I feel they look at my age and do not hire me. I actually had one tell me over the phone that his partner wanted to hire somebody younger who would work for less money. How do you react to that one?

  • Bonnie Johnson
    Bonnie Johnson


  • Kimberly R. H.
    Kimberly R. H.

    Additionally... I am enjoying the journey (crazy I know) in learning everything that has changed in the job search world since my last bout (ATS, Self marketing, etc.). The funk? You see... I didn't know I was old. I just found this out. The bearer of the bad news? Blogs and Tweets and articles on LinkedIn. That being said, I will take my bull headed, stubborn self (results driven) and continue on with my search for a company that will appreciate what I have to offer.

  • Jan B.
    Jan B.

    For the advice that sounds very good and I know we have to stay active to stay out of that funk.. My last day at a company for over eight years ended last Friday and so I have begun the job search although mine will be for part-time work.I am going Monday to a resume lab at the work force here locally and also the next day at eight rethinking job search so I think all of that should help keep me stimulated and put a really good resume together..... I agree exercise is very important especially if you can get out of the house and get around other people so you don't have that isolated feeling especially when you've been in a job where there were large volumes of people.

  • Julie G.
    Julie G.

    Done all the above and finding that there is age discrimination out in the job world. Just because I have 29 years with my prior employer they assume I'm old.

  • Kimberly R. H.
    Kimberly R. H.

    I've had ups and downs during my search for the perfect job and to follow my bliss. I have been subscribing to "Developing new skills and upgrading my current skills" to keep me fresh. I highly recommend some of the free training out there on the interweb. Highbrow is a quick 5 minute per day learning subscription. I'm also using - Plenty of content. There are so many more out there, I have a plethora of Favorites under the heading Self Development.

  • Nancy Anderson
    Nancy Anderson

    Thanks for the comments. @Raymond truly understand your pain. Not all job seekers can afford to join a professional organization. Certainly I know that I couldn't and I am working. It was just a suggestion but doesn't fit for everyone. @Abbey it is hard to try to move on after being let go and it gets harder as each day goes by without employment. That is why I have found that the best thing I can do is set out a schedule and keep to it. I will spend so long reading articles like this and jotting down something new that I may have read about. Then I move on to searching for and applying to new jobs. I keep a spreadsheet to keep myself organized. That way I know who I sent my resume to along with the date and any other information. This way I can follow up if I haven't heard back from them in a reasonable amount of time. Everyone has their way of job hunting and tracking. This way just happens to work the best for me.

  • Raymond C.
    Raymond C.

    Sorry for the rant, and I do agree with your suggestions!

  • Raymond C.
    Raymond C.

    "Sorry, Honey, but we are not eating this week. I used the money to join a professional organization." Really? At $500/year, I'm not sure you're offering a realistic alternative. I know how important they are for networking but there is a time when it is not possible.

  • Kathleen R.
    Kathleen R.

    Thank you. Very helpful🤗


    That was excellent, articulate advice for both the unemployed, and for me, employed but searching for the dream job. Just adding any of the suggestions above can help raise the energy level to kick start the self motivation it takes to move to the next next level of inspiration. Thanks for your simple wisdom.

  • Abbey Boyd
    Abbey Boyd

    I have found myself unexpectedly unemployed, and it's a hard adjustment. However, the thing I found most useful was to establish a routine. It's easy enough to fall into a slump, but as the article suggests, having a routine keeps you fresh and on task. I would stick with a similar routine that I had when I was still employed, so that the difference wouldn't be as drastic. I imagine when I finally did enter the workforce again, this helped make the transition back in much easier as well.

  • Nancy Anderson
    Nancy Anderson

    Thanks for your comments. @Catherine always make sure that the cover letter is geared towards the company - in that it's all about them and not about you. @Glenn sadly that is true. Companies are very reluctant to hire you if the job is not inline with your career because they know that you will be leaving. Now - for a temp position, there is no question there. Everyone knows that the position is temporary and that you will be leaving. @Shaday it really is a head scratch situation when hiring companies state that they don't hire you if you are unemployed. So ridiculous isn't it? That is a concept that I have never understood but I have always been told that it's easier to find a new job while you are working. That is why we stress how important it is to get moving as quickly as possible after you depart your last job. And it is nice, if you can afford it, to have at least one small pleasure in life. Maybe once a week you go and spend the morning @Starbucks or @Panera - you can have a nice cup of coffee or tea - be around other people and still be job hunting. Different scenery can really make a difference. And you never know, you could make a contact there that will get you into your next dream job.


    I agree with your point that cover letters are a great way to insert your personality into the job application process. I was taught that every cover letter should be individualized for each job. A good way to do this is to read about the company and their mission and incorporate those points and values into the cover letter, explaining how the company is in line with your own values and how the job is a great fit for your experience and skill set.

  • Glenn Cantor
    Glenn Cantor

    William B. asked about finding temporary work to keep busy while searching for a new, full-time career. I have found that most part-time jobs don't offer the flexibility needed to execute a full-time career search. Additionally, they are reluctant to hire people whom they know will be leaving when they find the full-time job.

  • Shaday Stewart
    Shaday Stewart

    It's really unfortunate, but many recruiters view the unemployed as a collectively flawed workforce made up of people who did not perform well enough to stay valuable to their past employers. We all know that isn't true, but this is why it's more effective to find and "in" through your network, instead of the traditional application process.
    As for staying positive, I find it's helpful to make sure you have some entertainment in your life. I graduated from college at the peak of the economic crisis and transitioned straight into freelancing. Money was tight, but I allowed myself at least one small pleasure to lessen the stress of constantly searching for work. It might be something as simple as a book club, casual sports team, or online game subscription, but it can keep your spirits up and provide balance.

  • Nancy Anderson
    Nancy Anderson

    @Kellen thanks for your comment. I, too, have the resume handbook! Mine is a couple of years old so is probably out of date but it still has some great advice in it. Totally worth taking the time to review.

  • Kellen P.
    Kellen P.

    The only bit of advice I (respectfully!) disagree with is the part about taking your resume to professionals so they can "review and revamp" it. I imagine that would cost something, and most unemployed people are looking to cut expenses. I have had good luck in the past using a book called "The Resume Handbook" to help craft my resume. I'm sure it is available (for free!) at your local library.

  • Nancy Anderson
    Nancy Anderson

    Thanks for the great tips. @Mia absolutely - anything that's free is great! As long as you don't let it distract you from the job at hand - which is finding that next new adventure. @William it is easier said than done when it comes to finding temp work. Certainly you can try an agency to get a temp position and possibly a new permanent position. But it's not like it was 15 years ago when you could go into an agency in the morning and be placed in a position by the afternoon. There are a thousand other job seekers who are using the same agency and you are all bidding for one position. I am not saying that you shouldn't try - just saying to be reasonable about it. The best advice is to keep a positive attitude and to remember to treat the job search as a job and you will find your next great job in no time.

  • Mia Greenwood
    Mia Greenwood

    There is a lot of great advice here. I've been here before when searching for a new job. Getting exercise so you get a break from the computer really helps. It doesn't have to be expensive. I like taking a walk around the neighborhood, and local schools sometimes has free or cheap exercise classes. Libraries are also a great, free resource for job searching. And it gets you connected to other people so you don't feel so alone.

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