Coping with Unemployment in the New Year


It’s been two minutes right? I know… My apologies; the holidays have a way of making one lazy and writing is one tasking activity.
So, here we are, 1st of January 2013, and there you are unemployed. I can only imagine how depressing that is.

I’ve come up with a few tips to keep you from jumping off a cliff and help you get through this period; read on…

Last week, I had finished taking some applicants through my interview process and shortlisted 2 of them to meet with the client who paid me to help with recruitment. After meeting with them, he called and told me he wanted more options. I had to go through a reserve list of CVs in my database I hadn’t initially gone through because they didn’t apply for the position.

I called and arranged an interview with some of the candidates who fit the job profile. While meeting with one of the candidates, I asked her ‘What’s the most challenging thing you’ve ever done?’ And without missing a heartbeat she said ‘Coming for this interview’. ‘Huh? I don’t understand’ I said.

She explained. She had attended interview after interview after interview and on several occasions got to the point where all that was left was to get an offer letter; and then something would go wrong and she wouldn’t hear from the organization again. The last time it happened, it was a job she really wanted and when she heard some of the people she attended the interview with had resumed work, she was devastated. So when I called and told her about the job opening, she almost told me she wasn’t interested but decided to find the strength and enthusiasm to try again.

I was touched and told her to remain optimistic anything could happen. After the interview, she scored really high compared to every other candidate. Again I arranged a meeting with the CEO. After the meeting, despite having more qualified applicants, the CEO called and said she was his most preferred candidate and gave reasons why he felt strongly about it. I agreed with him.

Now there’s one more level to cross, meeting with the BoD which should happen sometime during the week. With very strong recommendations from the CEO and myself I expect the BoD to tow the same line. If that happens, she will be resuming within a week of getting her letter, as Head of a department in a highflying organization.

Moral of the story, your next application might be the one. It doesn’t matter how many times you get turned down, you can’t afford to give up or lose your enthusiasm; sometimes that’s all you need to get the job.

Here are some practical tips to help with your job search:
1.   Good news! It’s recruitment season: Most companies recruit between December and February. Now is a good time to aggressively job hunt.
2.   Get on the road: Draw up a list of Companies you want to work with and prepare your CV. If you don’t have email addresses, print hard copies on quality paper and drop them off physically. If you don’t know who the HR Manager is, address it to the CEO, it’ll end up on his desk or his PA’s and if he finds your material interesting, you just might get that call you’ve been waiting for.
3.   Sell yourself: Be proactive. Conventional job-hunting methods may not work. Research the companies you’re interested in: What challenges do they face? What value can you add? What difference can you make? Make sure your recommendations are original and practical, then call or visit and arrange a meeting with the HR Manager or CEO depending on the size of the organization. More times than not, you’ll get an appointment.
4.   Lure them: Ok, so the employer is reluctant about offering you a job? No problem. Offer to work with them for a month at no cost. Most employers will not resist free labour. If you get the opportunity, dive in and give it your best shot. Show up at work on time, respect their code of conduct, take initiative, be a problem solver, put in all you’ve got. After the agreed period ask for an objective performance evaluation. If they still cannot employ you, ask if the CEO or HR Manager will be nice enough to write a recommendation which you can use for your job search.
5.   Be productive: After all has been said and done, you’re still without a job? Don’t become a couch potato; keep your mind active. There are a lot of free MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) out there by reputable institutions across the globe (E.g MIT, Havard, Stanford, Duke University etc.) Register and take courses that interest you, so when a potential employer asks what you’ve been doing with your time, you can have a plausible explanation. I’ll do a separate write up on MOOCs, but before then, visit www.coursera.organd check out the courses available. There’s no fee attached, all you need is Internet and your time.

Welcome to 2013.
©Naomi Lucas


Published by: GraduatePro

GraduatePro was established with the sole aim of bridging the gap between graduates and today’s workplace. Using the power of audio-visuals, young people’s attraction to the creative industries and the current pervasiveness of Internet and mobile technology, Graduatepro will reverse the scourge of unemployment in Africa, one graduate at a time.

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