What to do when you don’t have a job

Unemployment has remained one of the biggest challenges of our time. It has become a major campaign issue for politicians across the world campaigning for elective positions to win the votes and support of the people. It has also topped discussion agendas in both national and international high level forums.

There are several hundreds of millions of jobless and unemployed people, and several others are daily losing their jobs owing to failing companies and frequent mass layoffs, compounding an already unpleasant situation.

So in the face of rampant joblessness and unemployment, what can an unemployed person do? Should they join the crowd of those waiting on government to waive a magic wand and provide enough jobs for everyone, or are they specific steps they can take to improve their chances of getting a job or creating one for themselves?

  1. Harness Your Gift/Talent: There is not a single individual born into this world without a unique ability, gift or talent. Every time a man discovers and harnesses his gift, he automatically creates work for himself and earns income and recognition in the process. The problem really isn’t that you are not gifted, the problem is that you have not been able to discover your own gift. There is nothing more sad than seeing someone tremendously gifted but not knowing what to do with it. No man who puts his gift to use ever lack work to do. The first and best place to go in search of work is within. Look within yourself, – your gifts, talents, passion, education, relationships, unique experiences, opportunities, environment, etc. what things are you naturally drawn to? What things does your heart yearn for? What is it that troubles you deeply, what are those wrongs you always wanted to correct if given a chance? There’s always something in a man’s heart, a deep longing for something he would love to do or accomplish if he has his way.

  1. Develop Your Skill-set: Skill isn’t the same as gift. While gift is in-born, skill is acquired or learned. Skill empowers you; it increases your value, and makes you more employable; it increases your capacity to solve problems and meet people’s needs. The more skills you acquire the more versatile you will become, and the more problems you will be able to solve. Developing your skill-set gives you an edge.

Skilled professionals are in high demand all over the world. People who give themselves to developing their skills hardly stay without a job for long. Every time you learn a new skill, you increase your chances of getting hired. Don’t just look for a job, acquire skills. The problem isn’t that there are no jobs, the problem is that there is a shortage of skilled manpower in the market.

  1. Volunteer to Work for Free: Some years ago I hadn’t a steady job, so I volunteered to write for a certain local magazine. I was writing a regular column and at some point started editing and proofreading whole editions of the magazine. But I was writing for free because my name wasn’t on their payroll, I depended sorely on the goodwill of the editor who occasionally gave me some cash. Then one day some senior government officials visited the editor and asked for his professional assistance for a new industry publication they were coming up with. Guess what? The editor recommended me to them and directed them to me. He spoke very highly of me and assured them that once they give me the job all their concerns would be taken care of. So based on that strong recommendation they came with a lot of tasks and expectation, and I did give them my best. In return, I made quite some cash for the services I offered them.

Now does it mean if you don’t volunteer to work for free you won’t get hired? Certainly not, but volunteering and offering your services for free is one of the easiest ways to showcase your capabilities and announce your availability. More importantly it is a great way to gain practical experience before you actually begin on your own. Giving your best in free service puts in a better position to get hired. The harder you work the more word will spread about you, while you build confidence and smoothen rough edges. It allows you time to fine-tune and master your craft, and perfect your act before starting out on your own.

  1. Create Reliable Information Channels: This simply means keeping track of developments around you. Information puts you ahead of your competitors. When you know something other people in your neighborhood don’t know, you will outpace them. Your speed in life is determined by the quality of information at your disposal. The more information you have the more moves you will make. Often, human actions are driven by the information they have. If you don’t know what is happening around you, you will miss out on opportunities. Many people have missed out on opportunities they are eligible for just because they were uninformed about the availability of those opportunities. First, make a habit of reading newspapers and magazines regularly. They often provide a lot of useful information you can use to your advantage. Secondly browse the internet for information, and thirdly, subscribe to newsletters and publications that are of interest to you. If you are looking for a job you need to get your ears on the ground.

  1. Submit Your CV to Recruitment Agencies: Working with a recruitment agency can go a long way in improving your chances of getting a job. Recruitment agencies give you access to many jobs and positions that you wouldn’t otherwise hear about. Also they will help you edit and polish your CV and cover letter to meet employers’ expectation. Some recruitment agencies also help with expert interview coaching and specialist advice to enable you excel at interviews.

Are there any other suggestions you have that an unemployed person can follow to help improve their chances of getting a job or creating one for themselves? Kindly let me know in the comment section.

Hilton Etakoh is the author of You Are Too Gifted to be Poor.  He covers career, creativity, entrepreneurship, and personal growth.  Twitter: @HiltonEtakoh, Facebook: @Hilton Etakoh, website: http://hiltonetakoh.com/

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