We've all heard that curious little qualifier attached to official job market reports, the side note estimating the number of people who have "stopped looking" for work. If you're like us, you often wonder about this untraceable population. What makes people simply give up searching for a job? And more important, what can you do if you find yourself about to join the ranks of those who are not working, not searching, and not moving in any career direction at all?
Running Out of Patience
When it comes to submitting resume after resume and attending interview after clichéd interview, most people can only go so far before they lose patience and take unfortunate and self-defeating steps. If you're finding yourself cutting corners or exaggerating the truth on your resume, you may be reaching this limit. After all, if nobody seems to be reading your application at all, how likely are they to hold you accountable for small, unverifiable fibs regarding the revenue you raised for your last company? When you hit this point, it's time for a break and a dose of perspective. Turn away from the internet and reach out for a personal conversation with a career counselor or staffing firm. A human face across a table can help you find your bearings in a silent, ambiguous world that provides lots of rejection but little meaningful feedback.
Running Out of Money
Every day you spend on the job market can weaken your financial footing by a few degrees. But don't let financial desperation make you vulnerable to scams, banner ads, sketchy "educational" opportunities, mall kiosks, or commercials that promise to help you turn your life around (for a fee). Companies seek out desperate people because they know capitalize on them and make money. But keep walking past these opportunists and have faith in your abilities, whatever they may be. Don't let any skill you have, no matter how minor, go unacknowledged. You can do things other people can't. Figure out what these things are and find a way to make them work for you.
Running Out of Active Ambition
When you graduated from college, you saw yourself stepping into a respected office and steadily working your way up the ladder until you made partner or became an executive. Maybe you saw yourself opening your own business or private practice a few miles down the road. In any case, you didn't picture yourself on the job market two years—or five years—later, still looking for entry-level positions. And you didn't imagine that the "office" would actually be a store front, a coffee shop, or a factory floor. As time goes by and reality sets in, your standards are dropping and your once-lofty ambitions are starting to feel like a silly childhood dream. This is normal. But don't let "reality" take your vision away completely. Whatever you had in mind is still possible. It's just a little harder to get there than you thought. Get mad at the obstacles in your way; don't get mad at the dream itself, or the foolish younger you who underestimated these obstacles.
Maintain Faith in Your Resume
Your resume is your best public ambassador. It has a wider reach and can accomplish more than any photo of you, social media profile, or phone call ever can. It's a simple one-page document that presents your best face to potential employers and allows you to brag about everything you've done in the past and will do in the future. Keep your resume close, keep it polished, and don't underestimate its power. Rely on MyPerfectResume for formatting and editing help as you stay patiently focused on the path to your next position.