How To Break The Unemployment Cycle

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By Grace Totoro

How To Break The Unemployment CycleThe days of finding work in less than six months are far and few in today’s economy. According to statistics, the number of unemployed is growing despite low unemployment stats. Individuals who drop out of the system or never engage, individuals who accept part-time work and unemployed college grads skew the stats.

Different states, professions and salary levels impact the numbers as well. It is the theory of supply and demand. Add to the formula discrimination, skill disparity, unrealistic or dated job descriptions and the timeframe for finding your “ideal” position, and it can make your unemployment timeframe even longer.

If you have been unemployed for the last three-plus months, you are probably living through the emotional roller coaster that complements the reality that you have a broken routine, your salary has ceased, and you are on your own for costly medical benefits.

Why Applying To Openings Doesn’t Work As It Used To 

Think about it, the odds of getting an interview from an ad get smaller and smaller, especially when faced with inherent bias from employers who make assumptions, a high volume of applicants, screen filters set up for scanners and not having the right keywords that resonate with job-descriptive searches. 

You are now in business for yourself. Whether you sell yourself as a 1099 paid employee or a W-2 paid employee, your strategy to acquire your customer (a.k.a. your next assignment) must go beyond the application process and the standard, experience-based resume. Like it or not, today’s job seeker must think like a small business entrepreneur and understand social media and online marketing techniques.

Steps You Should Take To Get Hired

  • Before diving into this project, take some time to process what has happened. Speak to your financial advisor to determine if you are financially stable. Often, job seekers paint a much gloomier economic picture for themselves than what is indeed their reality, adding more anxiety to their situation.
  • Review your employment history, skills and accomplishments. Every profession has changed its duties and tasks. Have you updated your skills to remain competitive today? Today’s employers want to know that you’re refreshed and ready to slay dragons in your discipline once you begin.
  • Consider retraining or updating your existing skills. Remember when you entirely shift careers, you risk having to start from scratch again, unless you can easily transfer relevant skills to the new position.
  • Think about your niche. How will it be applied to an audience of companies that are ready for what you are capable of doing for them?
  • Research the keywords that are prevalent in searches, and make sure you write your marketing collateral (your LinkedIn profile and resume) in the language that speaks to your audience. Organize it in a concise format with bullets versus paragraphs. When you do this, you are “search engine optimizing” your collateral.
  • Apply only to those positions where you have a personal connection in the company. Often what you see advertised as an opening has already been filled, or they’ve put your resume on hold and it’s just sitting in a collection queue that may be deleted in 90 days.
  • Create a list of everyone you know or need to identify and classify them as, “Know very well personally,” “Know well from past work or college experience,” “Met in a networking group,” or “Haven’t met yet, but need to meet.” Create a proactive, time-managed process that utilizes LinkedIn, Facebook and other in-person networking strategies to improve your visibility and develop relationships.
  • Look for ways to build reciprocal relationships where you give something without expecting anything in return.
  • Tweak your LinkedIn Profile and resume as you go through the process.

Should You Invest In A Career Transitions Coach?

If you are fortunate enough to work with a career coach, either through your former employer’s sponsorship or your own, you will benefit from their expertise in pulling you out of your slump and getting you packaged and ready to sell. However, you must be prepared and willing and able to collaborate and participate in the process. Think about sports coaching. Unless you pick up the ball and implement and practice what you are learning, nothing will change.

Like any other investment option, think of coaching as an investment in you. Learning curves cost time and money, and when you do not have feedback on what you are doing, it can add time to your search. Remember, it costs money (in lost wages and time) to learn on your own.

  • Think about what you are losing each month you are unemployed and ask yourself, will investing in a career transitions coach cut the time it will take to find your position?
  • Ask yourself what would it mean for you to have an expert to brainstorm with, guide you and review what you are doing versus you continuing to do what you are doing on your own. What is that worth?
  • Take your hourly rate and determine how many hours you are spending conducting your search on your own using a hit-or-miss process. That figure continues to grow the longer you are unemployed.
  • If you follow the process and do your part, investing in a coach will generate anywhere from a $4 to $8return for every coaching dollar spent. Your results will show in improved productivity, having a more precise direction and search-optimized collateral and in having an encouraging sounding board to help bring clarity to your chaos. It can improve your interview-to-offer ratios.

Approach the job search as a position in which you play the roles of investor, CEO, producer and negotiator. Perform well and reap the reward.

This article originally appeared at

Overqualified? What You Need to Do to Get HiredGrace Totoro is is a career transitions coach,  Founder and CEO of TransitionsByGrace,LLC, Member of Forbes Coaches Council and contributing writer for  and Creator of “Winner’s Pitch”.  To Learn More visit

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