Out of Work for More Than A Year

Take these 4 steps to a new career!

by Debra Wheatman, Careers Done Write

If you have been out of work for several months or even longer, this is the time to dig in and rededicate yourself to your job search.  There are jobs out there, but you may need to modify your goals.  Consider taking these steps to get your career back on track.

Step 1:  Analyze the job market

If you are committed to staying in your location, analyze the jobs in your market.  Are you targeting a declining industry?  Are you targeting an occupation in which there are more workers than available jobs?  If so, perhaps it is time for a new career goal.  After reflection you may discover you'd rather accept a lower salary for more stability. Certified career coaches are trained professionals to counsel you through a career transition. Check with your local unemployment office for free resources to aid you in your research and possible transition.

Step 2: Interim plan

It may take some time to transition into your new job. In the meantime, you have got to pay the bills.   Here are some things to consider:

* Temporary assignments:  Apply with multiple agencies that place wide range of occupations.

* Consulting assignments: There are many online resources to promote your consulting services.  Within a few hours, you can have a free or low cost professional website, updated LinkedIn and Guru.com profiles, and more.

* Seasonal work: Between October and January, retail sales positions are plentiful. Qualified tax professionals and clerical workers can pick up hours during tax season. During school months, some school districts need individuals to fill substitute teacher positions and teachers’ aide positions.

Step 3: Professional Development

This is your chance to build new skills. Gain new technical skills, take courses toward an industry certification, volunteer or intern in a role to get experience you are lacking, write a blog, or learn a foreign language.  For more tips continuing education to boost your career, click here.

Step 4: Job Search Essentials

  • The essentials to any job search include: 
  • Networking online and in the real world.
  • Posting your resume online with relevant sites. Don’t just post indiscriminately.
  • Actively participating on LinkedIn and other appropriate social media entities.
  • Set-up “scouts” on career websites to email you daily lists of new postings matching your criteria.  Use both large globally-known sites as well as local or niche sites.
  • Identify target employers and submit your résumé.
  • Resume blasts to recruiters.
  • Networking…it’s so important that I had to say it twice!

If in your previous position you worked from 8:30 to 5:30, base your new schedule on those hours. Use this time to research, network and job search. Now is the time to get busy and make things happen. Maybe you didn't ask for this change, but it has happened. With the proper research, analysis, planning, and execution, you can make a new career for yourself.  

Debra Wheatman is the president of Careers Done Write and an AMA Career Resource Center contributor. Read more from Debra here or follow her on twitter at @DebraWheatman.