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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  • William Browning
    William Browning

    What about trying to find temporary work during lulls in a job search? I know that might cut back any unemployment benefits, but that could get you on the right track to a new career. Working may take away from a job search, but part-time/temp work could lead to bigger and better things. Maybe unemployment lets you re-evaluate your career options. Some of us just can't stand to be without a job, and temp work might be the way to go to find a new career, even if we're overqualified.

  • Jacob T.
    Jacob T.

    There are some great tips in this article, but most of them seem like general common sense care tips that are simply applied to a person who has become unemployed. While this is helpful, the days after finding yourself unemployed hardly seem like the best time to incur new expense of exercise classes, vitamins or potentially expensive networking dinners. If those things were part of your budget and your savings, great; if not, I can't see that this is the time to start spending that money.

  • Katharine M.
    Katharine M.

    All of this is really helpful. When you're unemployed, your days change so drastically and you have so much less to do. Two of my friends were unemployed at the same time years ago, and they became "unemployment buddies." They would make plans together every day- simple things like grocery shopping- and check in with each other about what each had done that day to further the job search. They said the accountability and the keeping busy really helped.

  • Lorri Cotton
    Lorri Cotton

    Getting down is always going to be a consequence of being unemployed. It's what you do with your feelings that counts. Finding bright spots in the situation is the most helpful thing that you can do, no matter how small or temporary they are. Whether it be that you have a bit more time with your family, if only for the moment, or that you have a wide world of possibility out there, with the advent of telecommuting as a common working method, believe me, there are bright spots. I agree with the author's assessment that keeping busy with training, networking and joining professional associations can help to keep the dumps from getting to you.

  • Nancy Anderson
    Nancy Anderson

    Thanks for the great comments. Networking doesn't have to cost an arm and a leg. Many cities around the country hold after work networking - sort of a happy hour time if you will. For the small cost of a beverage, you can work the room and network to your hearts content. Although professional organizations are great to join, we truly understand the need to financially responsible. Networking can be done right here on Beyond just by connecting with others through your account. Or how about LinkedIn? You can network there with others in your same position and/or industry. You can find people that you worked with in the past and start networking for a position with one of their companies. There are so many ways to network today. True that everything costs today. To save on $$$ try exercising to one of the exercise programs that comes on the TV. Or purchase a relatively inexpensive aerobics tape and work out at home. Maintaining a schedule @Tara is so very important. Most people, when they are unemployed, spend the majority of the day having their pity party instead of getting up in the morning and getting ready for "work". Finding a new position is work and it is important that you treat it as such. Only spending an hour or two a day job searching is probably not enough. @Hema the way to turn another person around is by being positive yourself. If the conversation is turning into a pity party, excuse yourself because they will only bring you down. Being positive is probably the best advice we can offer.

  • Tara Avery
    Tara Avery

    Along with what Shannon said below, if financial worries are a major concern, it's no simple matter to afford yoga or aerobics classes, or even the extra expense of vitamins. I do believe that maintaining a schedule is a great way to get a handle on unemployment, because otherwise it's far too easy for the day to vanish without any progress being made whatsoever.

  • Shannon Philpott
    Shannon Philpott

    While I completely agree with the power of networking, joining professional organizations while unemployed can cause a financial burden. It may not be possible for job seekers to afford the membership dues or pay for online classes. Can you suggest some affordable ways to network without incurring the costs of these fees when money is tight?

  • Hema Zahid
    Hema Zahid

    I agree that it is really important to for one’s mood and job prospects to socialize and network with professional contacts. Unfortunately, networking sessions can sometimes turn into unproductive pity sessions. When a valuable contact wants to focus on how hard unemployment must be, are there any good ways to turn that conversation around?

  • ANNA S.
    ANNA S.

    Good Advice

  • Nancy Anderson
    Nancy Anderson

    Thanks everyone for the great comments. @Bryan thank you for the insight. It truly will help others. @Sharon so sorry that it's taking so long to find a position. It sounds like you have done everything that you can. Have you been sent on any interviews through the recruitment agency? So many people in the US are facing the same issues as those of you in Canada. I don't want to tell you to go back to school because that only adds more debt - especially if the schooling doesn't pay off. Is there any tasks that you performed at your last company that you could sort of pick up and run with? Maybe leading/managing? Training? Administrative? Sometimes we pigeon hole ourselves to one particular area and totally ignore other talents that we might be able to use to take us in a different direction. @Jenny when you finished the dental program, did your school offer to help place you? I am not sure where you are located but I was just talking to my dental assistant the other day and she said that she is able to pick up as much work as she can handle. You just need to find a dentist in your area who will give you the opportunity. You may try a different tactic such as sending a letter to a dentist that you want to work for and see what happens. Doesn't hurt to try and you might be surprised. Let us know. @Sandra so sorry. You wouldn't want to work for a company like that anyhow. On to the next. Best of luck all.

  • Sandra S.
    Sandra S.

    Since she didn't call back to ask why we were disconnected or apologize on her end, I figured that she realized my approximate age and that was the end of the interest.

  • Jenny P.
    Jenny P.

    Thank you for this article, I've been going through the all above first paragraph, it's been over a year I finished Dental Assistant Program can't find a job no one will allow me a chance to gain experience, prior to that I have a bachelor's degree in fine art's through Fashion Design which the college didn't help guiding me to futher my career, stuck with a huge student loan now.


    I, too am still looking after almost a year. My EI (employment Insurance) has just run out. Worked in Oil and Gas Services for one employer for the last 8 years and due to the turn in the economy the company laid off about half of their employees. Many Canadians are facing the same problems, too many applicants, too few positions available, age discrimination, you name it we have it. Have tried the networking, recruitment agencies, workshops to improve resume and cover letters, and diversifying the type of jobs I apply for. I know that I am able to the job - I just need the chance to prove it. After this long and more frustration than I have ever experienced before I realize that I do have to step back and re-evaluate the situation again.

  • Bryan Poulter
    Bryan Poulter

    Also, I've found government jobs, although lower paying, are less age discriminating. Good luck to us all.

  • Bryan Poulter
    Bryan Poulter

    I hit enter on purpose that time. Something else I found. iHire Engineering job board has a resume scanner that will rate your resume and inform you of problem areas, as the computer sees it. Apparently this is the same scan technology used by the various HR and recruiting firms.
    To test this, I rebuilt my resume according to the guides I found on that site and ran it through the test scan. After tweeking a few things, I scored a 95 out of 100.
    Now it was time to really test the resume, which by the way, if you, an actual person looked at it, it had punch and the eyes went directly to all the good stuff. OK the test. I applied with the Florida Employment job board and my original resume returned 0 matching jobs. (Matching my resume qualifications). I replaced the old resume with the new "computer friendly" resume and it returned "OVER 500" matches. This was just yesterday so the jury is still out as to if this will be fruitful.
    I know this isn't much and some things you cant do because the application won't permit it but keep these things in mind and try them when possible.
    I hope this may help someone ( and me as well).

  • Bryan Poulter
    Bryan Poulter

    Ouch! That enter button is a habit :-) I want to share a couple things I have been told by recruiters. #1 Only list your past 10 years work experience. #2 Don't put a date on your education (if permitted). #3 If you are looking to relocate try not to put your address, only phone and email. I'm told computers will scan the address and if it is out of a pre determined range, you are eliminated.

  • Bryan Poulter
    Bryan Poulter

    Oops! I hit enter. Lol. Anyway, I have been in the telecom and automation fields for over 40 years now. I have worked in nearly every facet of the industry so my skills are wide and applicable to MANY company's needs, however, after a year of job searching (154 applications to date) I still have no job.

  • Bryan Poulter
    Bryan Poulter

    I can't say that what I'm going to share will help anyone but I have spent a lot of time speaking with recruiters and HR people over the past few weeks and what I have learned, I have only this week implemented in my job search.

  • Nancy Anderson
    Nancy Anderson

    Thanks everyone for the great comments. I hear you all. I hear the bitterness and the frustration. Has it always been like this? Probably but it didn't affect us at the time so we didn't pay attention. I know I grew up in a world where you could be hired by a company right out of HS and stay with that company until retirement. That doesn't happen so much anymore. This is the new world and it's something that we are going to have to adjust to - like it or not. What options do we have? It is very true that you will probably have to take a job that offers a lower, or even much lower, salary than we had before. But it's a job - a foot in the door so to speak. Maybe you will have to work two jobs to make up the salary difference. Sadly, though, this is the way of the world and we don't have a choice but to learn to live in it.

  • Cordelia Tierno
    Cordelia Tierno

    @Lokakao- look for a company that does business with Canada...


    Hi Nancy, thank you for your article, is it easy for french speakers to have job in USA?

  • Dominic U.
    Dominic U.

    Thank you Nancy for this great remainder. Although I know about about this and I practice all of them, I do sometimes get cut up spending too much time in the front of my PC. For those of you on the same boat, take the advice above and hang in the there. Our share of the job will arrive when we least expect it. Know this "You are smarter and worth more than you think". Best of luck.

  • Dejan Smaic
    Dejan Smaic

    Another bit of advice. if you have another skill set, use it to generate income to float yourself along until you find something your looking for. And a big one, dont let others get you down by them telling what you need to do. It's your life, no mater who relies on you. If you are not happy, everyone else around you wont be happy. Don't let other drain your life.

  • George N.
    George N.

    Good article. I was with Verizon for over 15yrs and was laid off. Seems as if most of the companies have or in the process of laying off. It's bad and flooded the market for people looking for jobs. Cost of living rises and jobs shrink. They are cutting people loose in their 40s+ and its hard to find a job equal to what you had. Companies like Verizon get away with it.

  • Kimberly S.
    Kimberly S.

    I joined a support group for the unemployed. Very helpful. I agree about volunteering. Helpful. I fear My friends and family are tired of me by now. I start my job search in the morning. Read a book. Get out and exercise, grocery shop if needed, then house work and dinner.

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