Just this past Tuesday, I offered a workshop on Advanced LinkedIn to a local job seeking club. It was Dec. 2, and even with this popular topic, there were only 6 members in attendance. I was hoping the numbers were low due to the current low unemployment, but then I heard a story on the ready adding up the number of people on short term, long term, under employment and people who have dropped out of the job search, and the numbers added up to more than 19 million. A recent lecture by Dr. Rand Ghayad on “The Jobless Trap in the US” illustrates the true number of long term unemployed. Clearly, there should have been more than 6 people in attendance.
Some members of the group were dreading the holidays, where well-meaning friends and family ask how the job search is going. Career Coach, Arleen Bradley talks about this phenomenon in her latest blog. This is something that only a fellow long term unemployed job seeker can understand or someone who has experienced this. I personally experienced this, being unemployed for almost two years. I hated it when my family members would ask how my search was going. I found it hardest when my grandmother asked. I really hoped to find a job before she passed. As it turns out, I did not land until 4 months after her passing. I think the best medicine for this is job seeking groups and job search buddy groups. These offer support from others who truly understand.
Other members of the job search group mentioned Christmas shopping and people taking a break from their job search for the holidays. While spending time with your family during the holidays is important, it is a mistake to take a vacation from your job search. Susan Joyce, of Job-Hunt.org, gives many reasons for keeping the search going strong, including using your job search as an ice breaker during holiday events. Additional, some employers are desperate to fill positions, with less people applying. This is also a great time to reestablish connections through email, Facebook and other social media, or even old fashion holiday cards. During my job search, I sent out a holiday newsletter. It was a great way to share news about my family, and let me connections know about my job search.
Come January, I think I will see better attendance at these meetings, but in the meantime, I want to encourage my job seekers to continue their efforts.
Bottom line, the holidays are not the time to put your search on hold. Instead, change focus from applying online, to having meaningful conversations with friends and family and reconnecting. Enlist your closest allies in your search, and take some time to enjoy yourself too.
Please share with me how you are keeping your job search going strong during this holiday season.