How to stay unemployed

Isn’t unemployment wonderful? Don’t you just wonder what the next episode of As the Stomach Turns is going to be? Reruns on cable (if it hasn’t been shut off) are always fun, too. Yes, unemployment opens up new horizons and has you meeting new and interesting people — bill collectors, government bureaucrats and the guy at the local soup kitchen.

Well, if you love unemployment, here are 10 easy steps to assure that you do not find a job anytime soon.

1). Count on the Internet. Yes, by spending your days at your computer you will be able to feel like you’re actually accomplishing something by applying to every job from the job boards and on company sites. Reality check: People rarely get jobs this way. Job board jobs have literally hundreds of people applying through them. Play the lottery. Your chances are better.

2). Paper your résumé. Send out your résumé everywhere and to everyone! This also makes you feel like you’re accomplishing something in your job search when you’re not. Reality check: You have a less than 1 in 500 chance of getting a job by sending an unsolicited résumé, and an equally low chance by applying to want ads.

3). Flame the employer!: Do you see an employment ad that makes your blood boil? Tell the employer how incredibly stupid he or she is for advertising something that offends you. Reality check: Keep your opinions to yourself. If you don’t like what the employer is offering – don’t apply. Duh!

4). Ignore LinkedIn. Who needs this on-line business/social networking garbage anyway? After all, we didn’t have this in the 1980’s and we don’t need it now. Reality check: If you don’t have an up-to-date LinkedIn profile, with a photo, you are not really serious about finding a job. Not only can you make connections on LinkedIn, but prospective employers will often check your profile for recommendations and completeness. Accept all LinkedIn

5). Count on headhunters. After all, the employer pays their fee and they’re out there calling employers for me. Reality check: Recruiters work for the client company, not you. While they can be valuable allies in your job search, don’t count on them to find you a job. Use every resource available to find your next position.

6). Attend every networking event that comes along. Get to be a fixture at networking events. Let everyone see me all the time. That’ll work — won’t it? Reality check: No, it won’t work. While networking is absolutely essential to finding work, indiscriminate networking is just wasting time. Choose effective networking events and ignore the huge events. Maximize your useful contacts, but minimize the time-wasters.

7). Leave a call-back number that has a cute message or is answered by a teenager. After all, everyone likes to hear your grandchild on the phone message…right? Reality check. Only give out your mobile phone number with a very professional message, unless you are the only person living in your home. And that cutesy message on your home phone? Take it off. Now.

8). I’m a great interviewer!: After all, I’ve had years of interviewing people and I did fine. Reality check. No, you’re not. You probably are a terrible interviewer. Get help in interviewing well, and prepare well for each interview by knowing the company you’re interviewing with. Get professional help if you aren’t getting interviews or if you “blow” a couple of interviews.

9). I can count on one of my irons in the fire to come through. After all, they said that they’d call me. Reality check: Do not stop looking until you’re at your new job for a full month. We’re seeing more and more jobs dissolve, even after the person starts.

10). I can finally take some time off to travel or play with the kids. After all, I’ve got some money in the bank. Now is the time to relax…isn’t it? Reality check: Take a couple of weeks right after you’ve been laid off if you want, but then cancel any vacations or trips and stay in town. And keep that child care. Don’t take time off to watch the kids. You need to be fully engaged in a job search, and available on short notice for interviews, networking meetings and other job search tasks. Ignore this at your extreme peril!

Things are still rough out there, and it is still an employers’ market. Be fully engaged in your job search and forget your fantasies. Work the proven steps to employment instead.

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