5 Things You Should Be Doing If You’re Unemployed


You know the saying, “Applying to jobs is a full-time job”?

Don’t listen to it.

5 Things You Should Be Doing If You’re Unemployed

Applying to jobs you’re not qualified for (which 50% of job seekers reportedly do!) is counter-productive to your job search. Competition is too fierce. Even qualified applicants aren’t getting callbacks. So, stop applying to so many jobs and allocate time each week to becoming more hirable. Here’s how…

1. Volunteer

Volunteering can increase your chances of being hired if you’re strategic about it. Unemployed teacher? Help out with after school programs or volunteer to be a coach’s assistant. Web designer? Find a local non-profit in desperate need of a re-design and offer your services pro bono. By volunteering somewhere relevant, you’ll keep your skills fresh while enhancing your resume.

2. Keep Your Skills Current

If you lack a skill commonly required for jobs you’re seeking, spend time each day building that skill. Take advantage of numerous free resources online, including tutorials, e-books, and how-to videos. If you’d rather have more of a class setup, then look for free or affordable adult education classes in your area. Alternatively, if you already possess the necessary skills but haven’t been practicing, the do so. Skill atrophy is a huge concern for hiring managers, so practice and get yourself ready for pre-employment skills tests.

3. Network

There are two parts to networking: reconnecting with your old contacts and forming new ones. Depending on where you are in your career, reconnecting might mean contacting professors, college advisers, and internship supervisors, or it might mean getting in touch with old colleagues, bosses, and business acquaintances.

Find them, e-mail them, call them. Ask them to coffee. Ask how they are (networking is social, after all) and let them know the specifics of your job search (industry, location, etc.). See if they know of anything or anyone.

Most importantly, follow up!

At a temporary dead-end with your current contacts? Make new ones. Go to networking events sponsored by your university, industry, city, and so on. And look beyond traditional networking events. Consider going to lectures, neighborhood council meetings, even community bar crawls (go easy on the sauce). Each of these provides an opportunity to meet people with similar interests, and you can have fun in the process.

Again, follow up!

4. Freelance

Some job seekers are opposed to anything that’s not a full-time job. If this sounds like you, it’s time to change your mindset. Freelancing is a great way to boost your skills, resume, portfolio, professional network, income, and confidence. Search for freelance openings here.

5. Build An Online Presence

Get found online. Start a blog, spruce up your social network profiles, create an online portfolio to showcase your work. Find companies you’re interested in working for, subscribe to their blogs, and follow them on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. Find decision-makers at those companies and follow them as well. Learn what they’re talking about, do a little research, and then engage with them online. Impress them with your interest and insights.

Worst case scenario — you’ll learn what’s important to them and use this information to customize your application when a job opens up.

Better case scenario — you’ll establish a rapport with someone who will recommend you for a position and/or tell you about unpublished openings.

Best case scenario — you’ll impress someone so much over time that they’ll create a job for you or bring you in for an exploratory interview.

What are you doing to become more hireable?

Enjoy this article? You’ve got time for another! Check out these related articles:

Photo Credit: Shutterstock


Use ZipRecruiter to post job openings to 30 job boards with just 1 submission, or sign up for job alerts to have great openings sent to your inbox daily. Visit ZipRecruiter.com »


  1. I absolutely love the idea about volunteering, it’s a bit upsetting to see the number of people who find it useless. There are many benefits to volunteering and here are just a couple:
    1) You gain operating experience in the industry you’re in, you paid nothing to get it.
    2) You gain access to networks, large and small, just by being a hard worker and quite obviously not getting paid for it.
    3) You develop ability to grow and learn on your own terms. If the place you’re volunteering is terrible, you vacate as soon as possible and find a new place or new industry and start over.

    What you do when you volunteer does not impact your future as much as when you’re paid for something. As anyone should be able to agree with, when money is involved emotions become corrupt. With only your real life as an exchange for your performance, you are better able to learn what it takes to get a real job.

    Volunteering where for an organization in an industry you are most interested in demonstrates that you are eager and willing to participate and contribute in the entire industry. This immediately lets employers know that you are a gogetter, you are willing to pursue what benefits you, and not someone who expects things to come freely.

    Volunteering should benefit you more than an organization. You should take away a large amount of skills, patience, and relationships. If you are not interested in these benefits you can simply realize that volunteering is helping the community.

    Do you find that volunteering does not help anyone? Please send me your story because every volunteer I’ve met who understands that they are not ‘needed’, gets a job the moment they ask their volunteer-employer for a reference.

    • Good share. I have got to let you know that I love volunteering and lot of it is on my resume as employers and others at job fairs, interviews, etc notice right away.

      The frustration and discouragement is how as I have sincerely volunteered at places and yet it hasn’t led to a paying job as is desirable and necessary. What hits me even though I am trying to let it not to is how for one full year I volunteered sincerely at the local Crisis Services Center with such reward and liked the people along with sharing relevant articles with superiors at times, yet I still didn’t land any part-time paying job there despite me trying to network well and expressing my interest. I only got one interview for a part-time position which closely resembled my volunteer duties and sent a thank-you note on the very day to all I interviewed with, followed up with interest the next week and still did not get the job.

      It really hurts and gets to me personally when many people emphasize how they have gotten jobs through volunteering sincerely which I have done during the job search, but not getting such. I have also utilized job fairs, gotten interviews through job fairs and contacts outside the place I have volunteered at and still not landed them despite usual prep with career center advisors and following up. I have also registered with 3 or 4 staffing agencies and still haven’t landed anything despite follow-up.

      Please share any things that I can engage in besides the all I have tried. I seriously feel anybody who has sincerely tried all techniques read of with sincere volunteering for 2 years and has not landed a regular, full-time job deserves one finally. Where is the sense of karma and justice? I just don’t get why and how HR at companies where I have been rejected have vaguely said to keep trying without any specific feedback which would be helpful and don’t understand why a facilitator at a job club meeting said to keep networking vaguely when such hasn’t helped?


  2. Skills currency, and networking quality are always a priority. Recruiters can help, but don’t put the keys to your life’s happiness and ambitions in their hands. Speaking as an economist and someone who pays her own bills, your time is better spent as paid-intern not volunteer. Keep being useful to those with direct links to the job you really want, and those whom are genuinely on your side. Important to keep a routine you can be proud of. Admit vulnerability at this time, but don’t settle. When you leave the internship, do a proper handover. Soar!

  3. Yeah, keep smiling, be slave and happy, spend your all (collected by years of hard work) money firstly on every possible courses and after that when you get depression or other sick behaviour spend your all rest money on psychotherapists and when you spend all your money you will have to do everything for a few dolars – and you will have to become next happy slave of yet happier society. Good luck for all believers;)

    • I call this article out to be complete bull. in today’s not so lovely society the chances of volunteer work even being noticed let alone appreciated is slim to none. the root of evil will forever rule the people $$$. there’s no team any more in the work environment or employee morale due to such garbage compensation. it turns nice people into fire breathing dragons. that’s just my opinion of course. I am 23 and have been bouncing back and forth from dead end jobs, at first being promised the world, then days before my probation ends i get “terminated” and my employer is obviously too much of a coward to give me a reason as he is entitled to under the Employment standards act, fine…but dude, you really could’t just do it in good faith as I just busted my butt for your company and had great relationships with every single customer that walked through that door and knew in my heart that I exceeded the expectations of my client service specialist, poverty level paying title. everything that is not union is just another revolving door job. being used to the point where they cant use you any more then fire you cause they can. we are only numbers. upward mobility? yeah, good luck..,you’r hard work will finally pay off and you will get that promotion when you’ve become a miserable blob in society with an ex wife and child support and you just want to quit it all. oh and most of you reading this are probably thinking to yourselves..”ok this girl needs to stop moaning and go to school” what the hell does school do for me? Leave me in debt with no job and a permanent migraine. the only pro I envision would be that it would keep my mind busy, but that’s why I have a chapters/indigo membership card. but its the norm so judgement is inevitable. I’m only talking from experience after being totally screwed over by a college(wont name) and took it up with a small claims court that got me deeper and only made matters worse. Still remember this rant is solely based on my opinion, nothing is set in stone..its all about perspective. Is the cup half empty or full?

        • I so agree with Amanda. I’m retired from a full time career, and searching for part time or temporary employment. I have an extensive list of CURRENT skills, long time volunteer activities, and awards. It means NOTHING to employers — they look at my age and the fact that I don’t have a college degree, and that’s the end of that. Luckily for me, in less than a year I can collect early Social Security to go along with my pension. You would think that would want as many people in this country WORKING to continue to pay into Social Security (I don’t pay state or local taxes on my pension, so that is money lost). But, NOOOOOOOOOOOO.

      • I got the job that I am working at now through volunteering. I volunteering for about 10 hours a week for about three months and was offered a part time position. Someone else left after a few months and I got some of their hours, too. I’ve been there for about 16 months now.

      • I have never met an employer who was interested in my volunteer work or the skills it offers. They dont understand, anymore then the average employee, why someone would work for nothing. Unless it is directly relevant and you can hide the fact that it is volunteer dont waste your time.

  4. Fully agree on brushing up your skills – we are launching our “Business Essentials” courses in the 5 Key Skills employers look for when hiring staff. Everybody says they have these skills, but we are giving you online eLearning/animation/explainer video hybrid learning and certificating the following courses. 60% off if you come through our recruitment partners.

  5. Quite frankly, I am tired of reading about volunteering in order to get a job. That is no guarantee of employment and it allows companies (who have more than enough of money to hire people part-time) to benefit from slave labor. When the CEOs and other officials start volunteering, then everyone else can do it. Volunteering does NOT pay the bills!

    • Thank you for saying that Justmeagain. I have been saying that since the slump of the economy has started. Volunteering may give you new skills, which is nothing wrong with that, but why does that always have to be the thing in order to land a job? Like you said, there’s no guarantee and a lot of these recruiters/employers are dead wrong. It’s suppose to count as a job because I remember long ago it was counted as work experience. A lot of these Career Centers are lying to people if they volunteer, they will get a job through the nonprofit – really? May be if your really lucky, you may get hired. It doesn’t pay the bills, I definitely agree to that but nobody wants to hear about finances. I got a job now and don’t have to worry about working for free, although, I still go back and volunteer when I can but I have a paycheck and don’t have to worry about where am I gonna get the money for gas.

      I definitely agree about employers who have the money and taking advantage of slave labor. I have been saying that on here and other job-related sites which I had “so called professionals” argue with me on that. I made it clear I didn’t want to volunteer forever, the name is not Hilton! “When the CEOs and other officials start volunteering, then everyone else can do it.” I agree or they can cut everybody 10-15% of their annual income and give out to the needy, then we can all benefit from it!

      There’s way too many lies going around which isn’t helping anybody anyway. These nonprofits are complaining that nobody isn’t taking the time to volunteer anymore, I wonder why!

    • That is great advice on which to adhere. Positivity is especially important when you are combating the stress of job-seeking. Nothing else can stop your personal progress faster than negative actions. Retaining a positive attitude and a constructive outlook works like magic. And don’t forget to exercise and to eat well. A happy body helps create a happy mind..

  6. I agree with the content of this article. As a recruiter, if I find a gap in employment in the resume or profile of the candidate, I always make it a point to ask if they were doing freelance work or volunteer jobs that is related to field they are in. This will tell me how active they are even though they are not working when it comes to the skills that they have and if they learned new things that can be transferred to their new career opportunity.

    • Sounds great in theory, but volunteering still costs me, eg: petrol, fares. And if doesn’t lead to paying role, then what?

    • Angie, I know you wont want to hear this, but those gaps, and what the employee has done is absolutely none of your business, nor is it the employers. Your job is to find the person with the skills for the job and thats all you should be doing. If the employer is asking for more you need to be empowered, as a profession, to say no to that request

  7. Excellent article! Possibly outdated but still pertinent to life for the unemployed. My advise to others is don’t give up, remain persistent. It’s a full-time job to search for employment. Block out your day like its a eight-hour work day, stick to a schedule and be on time for your own schedule. Use an alarm clock if you lose track of your time. Work on the challenges from past jobs. Practice interviewing and practice your skill-set. Network with people in your field and in your community. Volunteer at walks, runs, and community events. Volunteer at church. A little goes a long way. Go to the library if you don’t have a computer, and then use the resources at the library to help yourself. One never knows where the next job lead will be, like one person commented, “at a checkout counter of a grocery store”, maybe while walking your dog at a dog park, you just don’t know. Everyone is at a different stage, a different point in life and only “able” to do so much, we all have are limitations and circumstances. I’ve been unemployed for many months into years now with several temp assignments, but I will not give up. I have had goals I’ve attained and still reaching to attain my new goals. I’ve continued in school and will continue, and though student loans are heavy, if I use the skills I’m learning and have learned I will be hired in a permanent job soon with an employer who will give me the chance to show them I am a valuable employee. I won’t give up but I do have my blue days and I’ve read some of the comments and it’s quite sad. I truly believe there is help for people who seek it. Look in the mirror, only you can change yourself. I believe we all have the ability to make it or create a life that sustains oneself in a comfortable lifestyle. Just have to believ in yourself and don’t let the negatives of life strike you or keep you down. It takes more muscles to fron then to smile, so be happy and remember change is possible to those who believe.

  8. This is a great article, but I have to tell you that I find it strange that, in the comments, there’s an overemphasis on volunteering. The article did mention freelance (which has mostly been ignored). It’s easy to see why, but right now, freelancing (or independent contractor work) is keeping me sane and providing me with some income. It may not be enough to cover all my expenses, but its something. And technically speaking, I’m not unemployed when I do it. Don’t get me wrong, volunteering is great, but as many here have mentioned, it does have shortcomings and it’s only one of the 5 things mentioned in this article.

    It is getting to the point where I’m becoming a little more entrepreneurial when I look at things because: 1) I’m sick and tired of having to put up with crappy bosses who only got to where they are because of who they know, 2) I’m sick and tired of recruiters and interviewers who also only got to where they are because of who they know, and 3) I’m sick and tired of putting what others’ needs and desires before my own with little benefit or recognition. Although, it doesn’t have the job security of regular employment, I’m enjoying the freedom and variety I have with the freelance work I’m doing now. I just wish it paid more, but I’m looking into that. I’m fortunate that the work I’m doing now, I’ve been doing even when I was employed, so I have a long-standing relationship with the people who hire me, but if it is possible, I would encourage more to explore the possibilities of independent work. You may still have to report to somebody, but you do it on your terms and you are given a lot of flexibility.

    There is always a trade-off regardless, but lately I’m tired of the all the trade-offs I put up with when I had a regular job. I’m not saying I would never go back to one, but I’m keeping my options open.

    • Interesting. People told me to do freelancing/independent contract work, but how do you do that? I don’t have experience in that plus you need to know contracts and the legal stuff that goes with it as well. It was never taught in college, we talked about it and that’s it. I thought about doing it, but don’t want to be sued.

      • Marquis, when I did freelancing and needed an “Independent Contractor” agreement (writing, resumes, web design, even real estate), I found legal forms for free online. I may be able to dig up a copy I used if you’re interested. But don’t let a form hold you back! You can always try a couple freelance jobs for friends or coworkers for a small fee just to see if you like it first.

        • Well, the thing is if I were to do something, I would have to study it all over again. It is not easy keeping up with your field and job searching for 40 hrs a week. Every freelancer I have spoken to told me they had jobs for years and were able to do freelancing; whereas, for me, I haven’t held very many jobs in my life. So, this would be a huge step if I were to do it and I certainly would want to do it right without making any errors or being sued for something I claimed I could do but wasn’t able to do it.

    • Way to GO, MW!! I Enjoyed your thoughtful comment and no-BS attitude toward opportunities. Interesting that you said you found yourself becoming more “entrepreneurial.” What kind of freelance work are you doing?

  9. This article says, ‘keep your skills current’, well, what if your skills, such as they are, just aren’t in demand? I think that’s a big part of it, if you know how to do something that’s considered marketable, well, find your market. If not, you need to get some marketable skills? Skillsets can be highly perishable, depending on the industry.

  10. Link exchange is nothing else however it is just placing the other person’s weblog link on your page at proper place and other person will also do similar in support of you.

  11. basic, but good information.

    If you are considering Relocation, I put together this free, on-line information, to help determine if the move is a good choice, or not.

    Complete cost of living elsewhere – Compare / salaries / housing / cities / taxes / weather:


    the difference in just the cost of housing in your new location might come as a very unwelcome surprise. I hope that this information helps you with your decision. Feel free to share the link, if you so desire.

  12. Maribel C. Ibrahim (@TheFrugalWriter)

    Most of this information is common sense, but the value of volunteering cannot be underestimated. It’s a great way to build contacts, help others, and gain a better perspective of life.

      • I agree I’ve yet tried to find an IT company to volunteer in the Phoenix Metro area. I haven’t seen any IT companies who are willing to let you volunteer….

      • Volunteering has many more rewards than just trying to get in to your field. Reach out to others , pay it forward, you will be blessed many times over.

      • Local Dog shelter, food bank, equals networking, making contacts , improved “poor me” and a great feel good. Go big or go home!

      • Tracy, this is a crazy suggestion … but I’m going to throw it out there. A great way to do work for free and promote yourself at the same time (build credibility, demonstrate skills) is by blogging. Don’t laugh–you’d be shocked how many people read mechanical engineering blogs –ever heard of Lawrence Tam?

      • In Boulder, I have been able to volunteer with high school FIRST Robotics teams as a mentor. Mechanical is a significant skill area for high school teams, and lots of times the sponsors of the team will also supply some *employed* mentors to help out – you can network with those folks. That doesn’t always work, but if nothing else it is interesting to talk about to interviewers.

      • I enjoyed volunteering with a non profit that provides solar syste,s for low income home owners. That and my autocad drafting experience soon helped me find work as a pv designer. I worked there almost 6 months before they laid off half the ccompany including me. Solar may be a good fit for you also and phoenix is a great place for that. I also got a 10 hour OSHA certificate.
        good luck!

  13. I volunteer at a homeless shelter while I am unemployed and still have a roof over my head. I wasn’t always like this. 2008 really devastated me and relocating to an unforgiving state such as Massachusetts didn’t help either. My former friend betrayed me and I was homeless and ironically working (why is it the jobs come later than when you need them?) and the place I stayed at gave me some semblance of dignity and peace and I made a promise to give some of my time back when I got some stable housing situation. I live in a boarding house because temping no longer pays enough to be able to afford an apartment of my own and there is no rent control here in Massachusetts and I volunteer as often as I can. I am the last resort of any of the ladies aren’t able to come in I cover but I volunteer almost once a week every week and holidays. I like feeling needed and that was something I never really got from temping. I don’t clerical but I do some transferable skill things like answering phones looking up guest information on index cards..sadly this non profit is still doing things old old school..no databases or MS Excel spreadsheets on tablets (which would be a blessing but not every volunteer is tech savvy), the work I do pretty much parallels a bed and breakfast establishment sans profit. Almost everyday a bed has to be changed,linens washed, litter removed, breakfast served. People skills are involved, including conflict resolution which at times can be hair pulling if you are dealing with people with mental disabilities. But there guests I see on a monthly basis and when I see their names I smile because I get along swimmingly well and I enjoy their company. It is challenging for a mousy person like myself to work as volunteer because conflict resolution is something I am always working on. Collaboration is key as well considering only two volunteers covering so developing team player skills and the delegation of duties come into play (i.e. someone attends to the guests in the kitchen while the other is changing linens, cleaning bathrooms, etc upstairs) in order for the house to be prepared for the next volunteers later that day and to get out in time for work should one or both volunteers work. Right now it is going on month five of unemployment and I don’t mind leaving a bit later but sometimes volunteering back to back hurts your work life balance in the sense that work search hurts because you are exhausted from the shift; you are exhausted because you really can’t get adequate sleep (in case there is an altercation in the middle of the night I sleep light); all I want to do is sleep. Volunteering is a demanding as an actual job energy wise. You need to find your balance. I am cutting back so I can focus on job searching and reaching out to other avenues like the Center for Women in Enterprise to find out about starting my own cottage industry business. I also intend on taking Quickbooks so I can learn the basics of A/R and A/P. I lost out on an opportunity to get hired by a bakery who just fired an A/P person. But since I never had the experience nor was not familiar with Peachtree I missed out. I know I could use refesher courses in advance functions of MS Excel since most clientele never asks for VLookups doesn’t mean that one in the future will. However, I wouldn’t spend weeks and months on end studying software either. I knew a women in NYC that did that and was in denial about her unemployment situation and ended up losing her upper east side apartment and now lives with a friend out in Pennsylvania. I would also suggest trying to get temp jobs if anything to keep what skills you do have fresh and you have the opportunity for practical application of you skill sets until your permanent full-time job comes. Just keep in mind to always, always remind your agency of you main goal of permanency. I didn’t and now I am in vicious cycle of underemployment, unemployment, long term (1 may 2yr) assignments which the focus on the former two lately.

    • Hey Julie…where are you? Perhaps you can suggest to this unfortunate woman who’s dying to get some sleep to change her attitude? Afterall, she’s complaining about her misfortunes…how dare she.

      • Dear T Gibson,
        If you read the article I just read, it hits the ‘nail’ on the head..you have to get out there and network, see people, give back…my mother always said ‘No matter how bad off you think you are, there is always someone worse off’. Being out of work, regardless of the reason, is like breaking up w/a girl, first there’s the denial, the anger and eventually you accept things for what they are and realize you are better off moving on w/life and career. List your talents and likes/loves and seek those opportunities using google or http://www.yp.com (yellowpages), but keep looking/searching for that ‘thing’ in your life to give you purpose. Never give up!!!

  14. I gave up applying for jobs last summer. If your over 40, and been out of work for more than a year it is hopeless. I got a 2 year I.T. diploma 10 years ago that it worthless now. So that’s it I’m done.

    • Hello, I’m truly sorry that your job hunt has been so frustrating that you are giving up. But, based on your comment, please review #2 in the article and take action on that. I don’t know where you are located but often there is free help for displaced workers who need to refresh/upgrade their skills. Or, you may decide that a complete change is needed. Again, there are often free or low-cost options to re-tool to a new career.
      It’s extremely difficult to be positive when you have been so beaten down. But, you do have a choice: you can stay beaten down and let others tell you what your worth is, or you can decide to determine your own worth and seek out resources that will help you achieve that worth. I hope that you can find it in you to choose the second path.

      • Hi sharon, you are absolutely write. We all experience moments if career, job hunting, relationships when we don’t feel good about what and who we are and when our confidence is down. But I recently saw a TED talk by Dr. Ivan Joseph on ”how to build self confidence” in which he states how repetition of negative self talk harm our self esteem. But as he use the world the ‘skill’ it is build by repetition and we can avoid sinking out attitude and not letting the adversity win us.

      • For what? For a bunch of overachieving, selfish people who think they have the answers for everyone who is unemployed? Not worth it over that I can assure you.

        Let the “cheerleaders” here who think your “attitude” is all wrong trip up rather than you.

      • Please don’t, and please don’t say that. Every time you think it or say it literally bite your tongue. Biting your tongue hurts. So do your words. You hurt others who care about you and you hurt yourself worth. You are too precious.

    • I am not sure what state you live in but, I was unemployed for 26 months and at that time some of the ‘experts” were saying that if you are unemployed in your profession for more than a year it is 90% probable that you will not work in your chosen profession again. My news is that after 26 months I did find a job in engineering and they paid what I was making at my last job. I know that it is difficult; …been there, done that, got the T-shirt… I say this without knowing your state or chosen profession so I would like to consider this more as a general encouragement. Are there any Unemployment offices close to you that may have some workshops with more current information about the job market. Here in AZ both the City of Phoenix and the County of Maricopa have workshops and experts that after the workshops will provide free advice on your resume and the type of position, and if they know any information about the company.

      My point here is that there is always hope, in my case 26 months later. Like they say do not make it a secret that you are looking for a position to anybody that will ACTUALLY listen. I mentioned that to the male checkout person at the grocery market, and it turned out that he worked in my field of engineering and while I did not get a job at his place, the fact is that the location is the least likely place I found someone who knew about engineering.

      • The Phoenix Workforce Connection is just crap as they were teaching old, outdated, job info. I went there in 2011 for a two week SOAR workshop program and didn’t get the help that I needed. i told one of their employees who was checking up on everybody telling her how the info didn’t land me a job nor did I get the stimulus money to do the training and never heard of assessments just to get the training – not what Obama said! I told her to close my case.

        Maricopa Workforce Connection was better, but what I didn’t like in the orientation is they said we don’t give you jobs, we give you tools so you can get your own jobs. I took all of the workshops there and the info was better, but still couldn’t agree with some of the info they said. The problem is the job advice is too general and not a one size fits all for everybody. The advice seriously needs to be broken down for different people, for example, if a person lost his home, still has some savings left, is in a shelter, etc, you shouldn’t tell him to go volunteer; he first needs an income so he can get out of the shelter.

        The job advice on he should volunteer is out of the question. What if a person has absolutely no money, can barely get around transportation wise, etc what kind of job advice should that person get? That is what I have been arguing with other job seekers or “professionals.” The workshops were better at MWC than PWC, but I don’t find it fair that they told people you need to find your own jobs but they are connected with companies. You can give someone all the tools in the world for xyz, but if these companies can’t hire you so you can extend those tools, then what good was it to learn about them in those workshops?

        I still have my info from MWC that I use from time to time. I have been to the One-Stop Career by my house and did workshops there in 2010 again info that didn’t help. I am tired of going to these places where they don’t have any answers about job info and the problem is people are still stuck in the past, how is that helping anybody in today’s economy? We need better advice for today’s job economy. There’s too many lies out there and way too many experts/career advisers who don’t know what they are talking about or they don’t have any answers themselves. I get tired of hearing the keep volunteering, that isn’t my plan to do it forever, since I have been volunteering for now 6 months.

        Why can’t these gov agencies hook you up with these companies they know to get you a job? How many hoops and loops does one still has to go through just to get a job anywhere?

  15. Pretty basic stuff, no? If you’ve been working more 3 – 5 years and don’t know this already, well maybe this is news. If you’ve been working more than 10 years and this is news, hmmmmm?

  16. Thanks. These are sound suggestions in my experience and a reminder when looking for work is very helpful. Another important suggestion:
    Block out time in your day for job hunting. Block out time for your enjoy of some different 9 to 5. Go the gym, walk, visit museums, get together with friends you couldn’t schedule with when you were working, do things you enjoy to keep up your motivation, emotional balance and physical well being.

  17. The sad of all this is that many people may have no choice but to volunteer….thanks to incredibly myopic and ignorant pool of recruiters and HR people who couldn’t find their rear ends with both their hands.

    The problem is the gatekeepers…inept ones

  18. Very encouraging information. I’ve been out of work to long. This is truly something to live by everyday.
    I highly recommend everyone working or not to read this article.
    Thank you for the great read!

  19. Articles such as this, has main intention to relay certain messages to those has capability to digest and shape it for their individual use. Some of the contributors have found it useless which I absolutely do not agree with.
    There is no exact manual to give you a perfect guidance, articles are intended for those who may enjoy it, like me, and select tips for their requirements. Thanks to contributors and sharing..

  20. Actually all of these activities ARE part of the time you should be spending on job search. Because strategically volunteering, learning new skills etc. is the way to network into your next position. You can list your volunteer work first on your resume if it is significant enough. Job search is not sitting in front of the computer 40 hours a week and throwing hundreds of resumes at job boards. That’s a recipe for frustration and burnout.

  21. Just my impression, I haven’t explored it enough, but it seems most volunteer jobs are flunky ones. You don’t see listings for volunteers with professional skills commensurate with their education. Seems like you have to join the Peace Corp or go to Africa as a doctor where your professional skills are wanted. In the USA your best bets are jobs like working in soup lines, delivering food to the elderly, shelving books in a library, etc. Professional-level volunteer work is off limits. Organizations should be flexible to accommodate professionals who want to keep their skills current on a volunteer basis.

    • For Ed:

      If you are a professional, try offering your professional services to a non-profit organization, i.e., if you are an accountant, volunteer to audit their books; if you are an attorney, volunteer to review any contracts, if you are a professional blue collar worker (yes, blue collars are professionals, too), volunteer to paint or re-plumb, build or repair something, etc. There may be someone in the organization who knows someone who is looking “for someone just like you.” You never know.

      Peace and Blessings

    • Ed,
      I volunteered at a Chamber of Commerce once due to the possibility of meeting one of the members who maybe could use a Receptionist/Secretary. That worked, not so much. I’ve recently volunteered to be office support for my local Goodwill Industry Job Connection office. It can look good if that is what a hiring agent is looking for. The best part, is it keeps you busy for the moment and preoccupies your mind just enough to refocus. At least that’s how it worked for me.

    • You’re right Ed. I have not had a full time job for over 3 years now and even the temporary positions are far and few in between. I tried sending my resume and cover letters to organizations asking to volunteer and if I received a response, iwas a negative one.

      • Unfortunately, just sending “a” cover letter and “a” resume will not get you very far with a non-profit organization. They are very busy people and if you don’t immediately communicate what you can do for them that is currently not being done, they will not be interested. Just like with a paid position, you need to understand the goals and challenges of the non-profit and speak to those. Yes I know this is really hard when what you need is a job and it looks like you are spending your time on non-job search related activities. But you are actually practicing the same skill set: identifying the organization’s needs and demonstrating how you can address them.
        I wish you continued energy to pursue your goals.

    • Well, you are right if people volunteer they might get hired in the future. However, most of people want to find a job get paid so not too many people are willing to volunteer.

  22. You have tried most of the suggestions for employment and have been been unemployed for a long time the bills are piling up, now think of Entrepreneur :)

  23. Great article! I perused the comments above and would like to add that the “5 things list” is not limited to only the recommendations in this post, but should be on everyone’s list! If you already know this. Wonderful! Can you guess how many people who don’t? or haven’t passed this advice on to others? And this includes H.R. professionals and job developers.

  24. Just my two cents…..remember you are sometimes sending your resume to someone who may not want you to be better than them. So keep in mind to streamline and tailor it to exactly what they are looking for. Sometimes saying a bit too much of what you CAN do will get your resume landed in the “old HR bucket!”. Yes, I know many that if you are any bit of a threat to them, you will land in the bucket! Keep this in mind also when interviewing. Never be too smart. Terrible I know, but you may not make it to the next step in the interview process. Be careful of titles on your resume as well again don’t say you supervised if the job doesn’t ask for it. They will think you will not be happy in the role and will just move on and use them as a stepping stone. And again, they will overlook you thinking you are too smart and may be a threat to their job.

    Use stragedy as awful as it is but you have to be creative in this day and age.

    Again, just my two cents!

    • Here is some personal knowledge, my brother was not happy where he worked and the plant looked like it was failing. He decided to go out to a bar and buy someone a drink to get a new job. He did this and was hired at another company 2 weeks later. He just found the right person to talk to. All he needed to do was take a chance. bold move that worked for him. why not anyone else. NETWORK.

    • what’s so childish about that? fyi i know many people who gained so much from networking. a job, a promotion, etc etc. by expanding your online profile, you are attracting or going to HRs and companies to hire you such as what happens in linkedin. it’s your online branding, your marketability. last but not the least, volunteer so at least even if you dn’t have a job you’re doing something productive. what’s so childish about that? it makes perfect sense.

    • Childish? Seems rather harsh don’t you think? I own a career consulting company and this advice is pretty good and some of which we also recommend that sees strong results.
      Volunteering is a great way to keep your skills sharp and it also demonstrates a few other qualities 1) you are likely to stay in that routine, you once were part of. This is important (ie. getting up and getting out) 2) build networks and contacts. Cant have too many of those 3) Good for your well being. It’s tough to be unemployed, so having something that is meaningful, will help your mood.

    • Agencies are good for hard to fill positions I work in non-profit in NY and most non-profits do not use agencies. My last position was Manager of recruitment and compensation and I obtained it through networking. I wrote an article for the HRNY newsletter and then I applied for a consultant position through an agency and my boss just happened to be the editor of the newsletter. I sent in my article the same time as my resume hit my boss! After a brief phone conversation, I was hired! It was fate!

      • radio silence from ‘head hunter’! i’m a job developer in the non-profit sector and these tips are ‘reminders’ for some and ‘news’ to others. so to classify them as he/she has done and not offer her own insight, is unprofessional. shame!

    • What’s the matter?? Are you afraid someone getting a job using the five steps will take away from your headhunter commissions? Get real!

  25. Job seekers fail, breakdown or become demotivated because they lack a process. These points are true but often hard to execute and keep top of mind within the search process. Not to plug, but we created SnagPad.com for the very reasons cited in these comments. It delivers better results for job seekers – faster path to interviews and job offers. It even strives to make the job search process fun. I know:)

  26. What about market analysis? Why are recruiters loathe to reveal when applying is futile – unless it’s to boost figures boasting of their jobseeker penetration (and don’t that hurt!)? Massive kudos to LinkedIn for forewarning of numbers of applicants for posted roles. Targeting unsaturated markets is something I wish the universities thought about rather than channeling us into engineering streams, when the pond overflowed a decade ago.

  27. Good article. Interesting discussion. Bottom line…”if the shoe fits, wear it” if not…keep shopping. Improving your skill set while employed or un-employed is crucial to success.

  28. RE: “Applying to jobs you’re not qualified for (which 50% of job seekers reportedly do!) is counter-productive to your job search.” I believe the number is higher. Consider the fact that its state-mandated, that is, in my home state of Pennsylvania, unemployment compensation comes with the requirement that every recipient apply for 2-3 jobs PER WEEK. Since there aren’t necessarily that many open positions in each career category per week in each locality, the only option left is to apply for jobs outside of it. There are just as many applicants that are underqualified as overqualified. I think its counter-productive to admonish the unemployed, who must do things that are counter-intuitive because they have no other choice. I’ve heard the same remark made here from other recruiters as well and am mystified by it. Thank the regulators for the avalanche of mis-matched applicants. That’s where the credit is due.

    • Amen to that. Job seekers know they aren’t qualified for many jobs they apply for but they must do so in order to keep getting their unemployment benefits. Add to that the political climate where everyone without a job it’s being vilified does absolutely nothing to help or encourage job seekers.

  29. I’ve just recently started claiming JSA to help my husband with the bills and according to the job centre I can volunteer if only in a position that they seem not to a paid role otherwise they stop your JSA so check with them first before volunteering as it seems they don’t want you to keep your mind and skills fresh. I got this advice from colchester job center.

  30. A lot of these are giant “DUHs”. If you’re not already doing these things and need an article like this to point you to them then good luck on your job search. You could argue that you should be doing all of these things while you ARE employed.

    Here’s some real life tips:

    1. Don’t narrow your job search based on one title that you want to do. Keep fishing in an expanding pond.

    2. Have a different resume for each set of jobs you are looking for. Be sure that you hit the right buzz and key words – most large corporations don’t even bother to have an actual human read your resume until a bot has scanned over it.

    3. Apply to everything that’s remotely related to your qualifications. Send out so many applications you don’t even know what you applied for. Most of the time someone making just under 50K is scanning through resumes, so who cares if they reject you. If you find a job you are well qualified for and that same flunky rejects you, have to guts to go above that person. Find the department head and email them your resume. It probably won’t get you the job, but to me, screw it. If they can’t see you as a qualified candidate, let them know at least you think so. You have nothing to lose – what are they gonna do NOT hire you? You’re already not working there!

    4. Be realistic. Batten down the hatches, stay positive, and keep plugging away. Don’t let the bitterness get to you. Honestly, you can only look for a jobs for a couple hours a day – you WILL have lots of free time. Find a project, set some goals, don’t listen to stupid advice, don’t settle for a shit job and be graceful about the whole thing.

    Also, write anonymous, unsolicited advice on internet sites until you get a job. That’s apparently what I’m doing.

    • To the Seeker. Much of what you pointed out are “DUHs” as well. Bottom line is we all forget to both while looking for work and while we have work. Nothing wrong with reminders. Also, if you can’t sign your name to anything you write then you aren’t worth employing, or keeping as an employee!

      • You sound like a wonderful person. Such insight you have offered us on this topic. You must live an awesome and fulfilling life. Good luck with everything you do.

    • I 100% aree with you, most of these advices do not help you I am not unemployed but my hours are not enough and been looking trhough seek (which I now call it miss used site) it is funny how you apply for an advertised job they say you are not successfull then you start geting emails from those advertisers advertising other stuff to you or asking for donations and so on.

      I am a professionalbut when I was unemployed one of our covernment agencis find me a job offering $17.00 an hour then I relised I was hired to teached the owners accounting and MYOB, I mean my god are they series?????

      I do not know what they look at in applications buty in a few instances jobs that I was rejected for I was called to clean the mess the person that they hired?

      People that are not professional they try to sell them seleves and make up resumes that are appealing but I would like for the job agencies to really reveal how many times they replace person before the company has the right person for the job.

      No unemployed person should give up hope, keep on trying because our job market is runned by a few pretty faces sitting behind desks that have no idea and use their professional look in put you in low paid jobs.

      Keep on trying offcourse you need money to take on more courses to better self and keep your self updated,do not pay any attention to all these non sence advices given by people have no idea.

    • Most large companies use scanning software? Unsure if one can state this without knowing for sure. Can you provide your sources? I worked for large companies that did not utilize these programs and still used traditional sourcing methods, such as emailing, screening rooms via Workopolis etc.

    • Love your anonymous, unsolicited advice. It’s the best advice I’ve heard. Your communication style is real and gets to the point. It put a smile on my face.

  31. I think some of you missed the point. Someone in here said it doesn’t cost anything to volunteer, I know that. We are not factoring cost meaning putting gas in the car or bus fare depending on how far or close you live in. Like I said, we give out wonderful suggestions but nobody wants to factor in the financial means behind it.

    I was told to volunteer and told a career counselor, who is going to pay for my financial means aka gas for my car or bus fare? He just looked at me and told him sounds wonderful and everything, but I need to rebuild my assets and don’t see how volunteering will keep the maintenence of my car running.

    Also, my sister has volunteered over a lot of different places and was told in job interviews how she didn’t want to work that she didn’t mind working for free. She went off on several managers in the interview and one manager asked her what does this volunteer position have anything to do with us?

    I wish I was kidding, but I am not. I am seeing myself how these employers don’t seem to care about volunteering and won’t count it as work experience that they prefer to see paying jobs on your resumes. My sister did a lot of volunteering to put on her resume since she was a homemaker for 8 years raising her two daughters. Now, that they are older, they can fend for themselves and she can now go back to work. She has degrees which she has been told overqualified plus her age plays a part too.

    For me, I am not going to volunteer with the ideology of oh I hope I get hired with this nonprofit company. A lot of them are just hanging you high and dry, ‘thank you for helping us wish you luck in your job search.’ People’s bills need to be paid, no amount of free work will make the bills go away!

    There’s a guy on linkedin who told me he volunteered for two years at the animal shelter and still is waiting for them to hire him! I don’t know if they hired him now or not, but he had his hopes up for them to hire him.

    However, I hate linkedin! The site has done nothing for me at all and now there are more negative reviews of that site than positive which I am not surprised. The users on here are so dimwitted, stuck up, living in the dinosaur era, etc that they think bills pay themselves nevermind needing money just go do some volunteer aka fluff! They give the wrong job advice all the time something that worked 8 years ago will not work today!

    • I think you are not the only one pointing out that working for free is not usually taken as a plus by recruiters. Actually I did some volunteering years ago while unemployed, it was in UK, so there was compensation, for instance they paid the transport and a bit of extra money for food, and a pair of walking shoes and you did not loose you unemployment money (you just disappeared from the statistics) and you were supposed to be trained and to receive qualifications and you were out all day, if you were not doing any useful survey at least we cleaned up path and forest from glass bottles and other trash (we were not supposed to do that but it seemed really a better use of our time). Any way even in job application with a box for volunteering, I never included it, because it was irrelevant, I am still doing my original profession!

      I also went to the “executive job club”, and there I learned a couple of very useful things which are missing from this article:

      1. remember that if you are feeling that you have to seduce these people into giving you a job, they also have reasons to be nervous, they have to seduce you so behind their attitude is also a lot acting

      2. they have to make the right choice of candidate, because if they hire somebody unsuitable they will be blamed.

      So remember that when you talk to them things are more equal than you might think!

      The other thing is that it is all a matter of vocabulary, you must remember to use the key word that appeal to these people, success, higher etc… (lots of b——- I know!)

      I think it is very good to talk about networking and all that, but it sounds a bit like something that might work in a profession where your address book is important (and if you can make such a big one, why do you need an employer!). But researching the right place to work is a good idea, because it is always better to write before they have advertised a job or even before they think about it, and doing the research helps writing a good letter.

      At the end of the day it is easier to convince people you want to work with to employ you than others.

      So I guess volunteering is more to be done because you want to and you like it, not to boost your cv.

  32. Recruiters are full of BS…they are the most narrow-minded, brainless individuals you can come across. If you do not fit into their pathetically tiny universe, you are a throw-away item.

    This whole business of having to put on a game face and constantly “feel good” is absolute bull…it’s more to make the employer feel good about themselves and not feel guilty for not hiring you than it is for the individual who feels like crap and is down on his or her luck.

    I have over 15 years of design and technical sales experience. I have a skill-set that is very flexible and very applicable to many jobs in a variety of fields..I can design products, able to sell products, deal with clients, vendors, you name it…valuable, applicable assets that would be useful to any company.

    Yet bozo recruiters can’t find me a job…lol…what else do they want from me? A pint of my blood???

    Take, for example, the medical field…the arrogance there is so high that if you do not have any medical sale experience, you are a worthless piece of garbage not worth talking to…so how do you get in besides being a model and flirt with the worthless CEOs?

    Let’s be honest here…all the volunteering in the world isn’t going to do squat if you don’t know the right people…end of story.

    • I love your comments and agree with so much of it if not all of it is true. You have a great way with making us laugh…why don’t you write a book about Recruiters….there are many of us who would buy it…Good Luck.

      • Maureen,

        Thanks for the kind words…perhaps I should call it “Memoirs of the Job Hunter: As Seen Through the Eyes of Recruiter.”



    • Maybe not a pint of blood, but walk on water and part the red sea? Probably, that’s what I say. The market and processes are truly hostile environments at this day and age : )

    • Steven,

      I was reading the comments and just about to hit reply to endorse the “Guerrilla” method of seeking when I came across your comment. LOVE the creativity!!! LOVE IT!!

      The frustration I see in these comments is that people want to just do their jobs and not have to market themselves in order to do them. And that is a fair frustration!! Many people, who are fortunate enough to not lose their jobs, lose out on promotions, pay increases, and personal betterment because they don’t understand the importance of MARKETING THEMSELVES!!

      It’s a cold, hard fact… you MUST market yourself. Think of how much money is spent every day on Car Ads. There are tons of different cars out there. Each of them work. Each of them will take you from point A to point B. But which of them is ‘just right’ for you? Marketers come in and tell you WHY you should buy a Ford Expedition, or a Volkswagon Beetle… the car companies COME TO YOU!! And that is where marketing yourself comes in.

      You need to tell the company WHY YOU over all the other seekers. I realize I am reiterating what others have expressed, but it is paramount to understanding how to get a job, especially in a market as tight as ours is now.

      Problem is, like I mentioned before, most of us don’t want to market ourselves, we just want to do our job!! Afterall, if we wanted to market/sell things, that would be our career!! I get it.. but look at it as a ‘neccessary evil.’

      I remember back when I was attending University of Texas at Austin, I wanted a part-time gig at a radio station (I had mad skillz as a radio DJ). I also knew that Austin is one of the top 50 markets in America and that my competition, even for part-time would be fierce! So, I dismissed the normal resume and created a mock-up cover of the Radio Industry’s mainstay magazine, “R&R.” On it, I included the headline, “Taylor Sands announced as newest DJ at KVET” and then wrote an “article” outlining my past experience as you might read it in a real magazine. I included pictures of myself with Toby Keith and added a few other items; I even included the details of the actual magazine to make it look super-real. I dropped it off along with an air-check tape to the station. I got a call within a week. As a sat across from the PD in the interview, he pulled up a cooler-sized box of tapes from applicants he had never even listened to because there were just “too many.” Because I thought outside the box, I got his attention. I’m sure there were others in that box with more experience, but I got the job. (Thanks, Bob!!)

      Fast forward many years and here I am looking to re-enter the workforce after a 12 year hiatus as a stay-at-home-mom. I immediately signed up for LinkedIn and spent HOURS updating it, including taking a picture in a suit and adding it.. I also included my many years of PTA volunteer experience, but I leveraged what made it relevant on my resume and in subsequent interviews. AND I read a book called “Guerrilla Marketing for Job Hunters 3.0″ by Levinson & Perry (I recall your example, Steven) which tells you what I, and the others commenting above me, all say… MARKET, MARKET, MARKET.

      In this day and age, LinkedIn, Love it or Hate it, is an absolute MUST for job seekers. So, just suck it up and do what you have to do. Yes, it will be time-consuming, but it will be time well-spent! It will be an investment in your future.

      Linked In is where many people (Recruiters, Business Owners, Hiring Managers, etc) go FIRST when they are looking to create a new position or fill a current one. BEFORE posting to a website.. BEFORE asking a Headhunting Firm… BEFORE even placing it on their own company’s website.. That’s right, before advertising the opening, they have done a search on LinkedIn. So if your LinkedIn account is current and looks great (yes, you will have to use some key words, but again, that is all part of marketing yourself), then you have increased your chances EXPONENTIALLY of being found before you yourself even looked! and how cool is THAT?!?

      I highly recommend “Guerrilla Marketing for Job Hunters 3.0″ by Jay Conrad Levinson & David E. Perry as they give very detailed specific ways to make the most of your time and marketing efforts.

      By marketing myself CORRECTLY (and using some of the techniques in the book) I was able to secure a job offer within 5 weeks, in THIS economy, after having not worked for 12 years.. So, you see, it’s not a waste of time, but rather an investment in your future.

  33. This article helps give unemployed people hope and positive attitude to do the right things however each unemployment situation is different . What’s about for instance Phd holders like myself Phd in Education who do not find a job because there are no teaching openings right now where I live and cannot move due to a family situation. There is nothing worse to invest in a Phd and at the end because of the market unable to find a teaching job!

    • The advice holds for PhDs as well as non-PhDs. It is a risky investment, always, to do a 5-7 year program without a guaranteed job at the end, but academia is even MORE attuned to networking than many other industries. Attending regional or national conferences, getting your work and name known in the intellectual community you are a part of, volunteer at local community colleges or seek out opportunities at high schools (private and public) as a college guidance councilor are all worthwhile uses of your time. For high school or other grade school employment, there are lots of summer programs, writing programs after-hours or supplementary academic help, not to mention many for-profit tutoring (particularly for tests) institutions that would be happy to have someone with so much training, and give you a chance to meet parents, professionals, and other educators. You can also freelance as an education consultant. You have options.

    • People often say they cant find work, but most of the time, they are not trying to. If one cannot find a job in ones field, if they broaden their horizons, they will find a position. I am not saying work at McDonalds, but find a position that correlates to your field. If you are a teacher, find a job recruiting for a towns school system, or apply for a higher end administrative role within a school system. If you do this, you are still utilizing your skills, as well as keeping active employment on your resume. It is always better to have employment on your resume, versus staying unemployed, and waiting for the right position. I hope this helps.

      Best Regards,


      • I completely disagree with this.

        Recruiters and HR people are too closed-minded to allow for people who want to broaden their horizons to find work. I’m a perfect example of that.

        I have both technical and sale experience and would be an excellent candidate to represent a firm that needs an engineering type of person who can understand a product AND be good in front of people.

        Try and explain that to an HR idiot.

        • It would just be nice to hear back when you apply…I ALWAYS replied to job searchers…in this age of emails, there is no reason, regardless of amount of applicants, to not have the common courtesy to respond/update via email…that is the biggest disappointment to me.

          • The recruiters’ come-ons always say, “time is of the utmost importance – send us your most current resume immediately!” So we drop all our other work and get the resume back out to the recruiter, including letting our references know that someone from company ABC for position xyz may be calling them. Then nothing more happens. References are left in a lurch, you call the recruiter to see if your resume has been moved forward but you never hear back. I had a reference delay a business trip to Europe for 2 days so he could still be my reference. Guess what. The cost or changing an internatinal plane ticket (for courtesy to me) was dumped. No one called him. – even after I tried to reach the recruiter. I left message after message but it appeared that I was connected to someone who had never existed. I’m really tired of “recruiters” who don’t know anything about the qualifications of the position they are recruiting for, yet REQUIRE that candidates immediately send them an updated resume for that position, then dump all responsibility from there on.

            I really think the recruiters are just using our references for new contacts to sell themselves and their services to. And I’m now letting their home office know, also asking that they remove my resume from their national database. It would be an interesting research project to put down a bogus job with a great reference (non-existant)from the White House and see if that reference gets a call. We’re being used in other ways if we don’t hear back from the recruiter. But I’ve had great experiences with recruiters from India. They always follow up and have been terrific to work with. Don’t let the others continue to get you! They are probably making money in a different way by using you!

        • Noz, Sales Experience and Technical / Engineering background? Sounds like a Business Analyst to me. Apply to BA positions and include language in your resume about “Gathering requirements / Requirements Gathering Skills” etc.

          I’ve hired several entry level BA candidates coming from a Sales and Technical Background.

          Signed: HR idiot.

          • I’ve had both good and bad results with what a lot of the comments here say. On the subject of a BA position specifically, I can directly comment.

            For those of us who have been in mid-size companyies (for 33 years, myself) the position of B/A hasn’t existed until the past couple of years. Through the 80’s, 90’s, even the 00’s, it was the P/A’s and S/A’s who were doing this work, they just didn’t use the lingo.

            Also, take a look at Wikipedia for UML constructs, and you will see that almost all of the diagrams are things we’ve been doing for years, again we just didn’t call it what they do now. You can’t expect some new HR “kid” to know how the indsustry worked ten or twenty years ago.

            I’ve had some recruiters who called me when I wasn’t able to take notes and never followed up on what they called me about (I’m waiting for one of those right now). I’ve also had a couple of GOOD recruiters who have given me some pretty good advice.

            Probably the best was to read each position description very carefully. Do you recognize a skill that you have but haven’t put into your resume or online profile(s)? PUT IT IN THERE.

            Is there a buzzword that you don’t recognize? Look it up. Have you done that by another name? PUT IT IN THERE.

            I’ve got an entire table at the bottom of my resume with just the buzzwords for things I’ve done. Once I did that, I started getting more hits.

            Focus more in your resume on what you’ve brought to a job and what you can do in the future, not just on what title you’ve held at what company in the past.

          • Jim,

            So your suggestion is for me to look into fields YOU think I’d fit into, not fields I WOULD WANT to work in…

            Great suggestion….I’ll keep that in mind…

        • You are correct, Noz. I see it over and over. And don’t be the “wrong” color, religion, or age…..you can REALLY “stick a fork in it” then.

  34. I found this article very ironic, for the simple fact that a fellow studnet here at Savannah State just did a presentation on this same topic. Some of the things that were stated in this article he touched based on also. Such as volunteering, and keeping your skills up to date. But one thing that was brought up in this article that he did not talk about was the freelancing. Before reading this freelancing never crossed my mind. Now with this new knoweleged I will try freelancing to see where it takes me. Thank you for the advice.

  35. I found very useful the volunteer tip.

    Of course, it is very difficult to volunteer when you need a job but, with the help of a relative you can go on in the difficult period; enrich your cv, enhance your skills and learn new ones. As soon as you find a new job you can deliver with an excellent performance.!!! :)

    • “With the help of a relative….” Suppose your relatives cannot help you financially — suppose you’re the engine that pulls that train (as many people are) — then what??

  36. Great article!The most important for me is to keep a positive attitude in life.There is always a job solution for everyone!However it is necessary that we try, search and set specific goals.So Let’s try to follow all the pieces of advice included in this article and Good luck!

    • After 7 mths this may be the toughest ( sedentary, looking for work) —after 26 years I realized I really had no gratification for what I was doing. Think I turned off last boss when I said I did NOT want to make $150k (NEVER DID) —HAD SOME GREAT CLIENTS—-some still call for advice—I was in the necessary “evil biz” (insurance). Realized I have some terrific friends—stay postive folks

  37. thanks a lot for this article , its really open eyes on different ways

    at least if a person couldn’t get a job can develop himself and be ready for any coming interview

  38. This type of speach, we are getting on a hourly basis. Its positive, although allow me to express my own opinion.

    People should work in pairs.

    One as a Coach ,the other one as an apprentice, and the roles change for both of them.

    where objetives for each one must be obligatory to follow, where by the other hand one drives the master lines the other proposes defined objetives.

    and many topic must be persuid as straight forward job applications, networking, etc.

    and some alignments ought to be applied if deviations might occurs.

    And never stop for learning lessons.

  39. The article highlights great tactics for becoming re-employed. In the meantime, to survive, also consider utilizing local foodshelves, free meals at churches, and cashing in career clothes at consignment stores to boost up much needed cash flow.

    Also keep in mind when selecting the next best opportunity your true purpose in life. Knowing why you do what you do will be the key to attracting those opportunities that last. Chasing money and accepting work with people who don’t share your core values sometimes makes you more miserable than being broke.

    My first priority is making people feel better about themselves after working with me. I seek to align and combine efforts with other like minded souls. It takes a great deal of faith to accept the gifts the universe bestows on me and my goal is to be happy with what I have, rather than always needing more. In our materialistic and faithless society, it seems that too much focus is on more, more and still more. The right mindset can make the unemployment state a positive and fruitful phase of life. “It’s not about the money, money, money…”. Remember that often less really is more!

  40. I find most career advice like this to be relatively useless to average people. Who can afford to volunteer or network or take someone to coffee? If you’re unemployed you probably can’t even pay your mortgage. It’ll be hard, if not impossible for regular folks to do these things. Sadly, because they do work. You get jobs based on who you know most of the time, not what you know.

    • You couldn’t have said it better. Who is this advice for. If you don’t know somebody that knows somebody, you remain unemployed. Education, skill and experience means nothing these days. Another pain is career fairs, they are nothing more than resume collectors.

      • Dead on the career fairs. Unless you are the stellar candidate…it’s a crap shoot. Career fairs taken in thousands of resumes, take 3 to 6 months to process them and by that time the positions that were open are closed or cancelled for whatever reason. There is no better chance in a career fair then online. The best bet is either recruiters or simply making a phone call near lunch time or closing – this way you can usually get a different person then the front desk or HR and at least have a chance to talk to someone that might relay by the next morning coffee that you need a job in there and what you are good at doing.

    • So true… sometimes oe has to take a position because their unemployment is running out and like you said hang on to your home..and not have the luxury of these activities. I mean how many of these 40+ groups consist of bad coffee in a styrofoam cup and hearing people cry and complain??

    • I cannot agree with you more!!

      I have developed a organization that is growing very fast called “Getting People Back On Track” a community outreach program addressing professional development and the necessary skills needed to secure gainful employment and bring back individual’s positive motivation. I am building this team of strong leaders to help job seekers with; resume preparation, resume evaluation, networking, social media, interviewing techniques, motivation and how to dress to impress.

      When your personal foundation is cracking, it has an effect on you, your partner and your family which causes a domino effect to depression of feeling defeated.

      We can decide to walk by and simply ignore those in need or we can do the right thing and lend our talent, experience and expertise to aid and assist in any way possible to help get people get back on track.

      We have placed 5 unemployed candidates and more will come, pass the word out and get on LinkedIn and join this awesome group.

      We are looking for a company currently to help us build a web site that will be powerful, so if you know anyone pass my name out to them

      Again check me out on Linkedin I am the new GAME CHANGER IN THIS FIGHT!!!

      I am committed to get people working again!!

      Jason A. Pan-Kita

      • Jason, You are a ray of sunshine on a cloudy day! Thank you for what you are doing to provide support. As more people become gainfully employed, we might find more kindness and generousity taking root in our communities across this beautiful and innovative country. We have always been a nation of leaders and innovators so more people like you helping the unemployed get back on our feet is what it will take to propel our communities back to the socio-economic stature we have been in the past and belong in the future.

    • Stephanie Watson, I am agree with your comments. I think when anybody is jobless then he cannot afford the said things as discussed above.

    • It doesn’t cost anything to volunteer. Even if you work 40 hours a week at a dead-end job, anyone can spend an hour or two a month volunteering their time. And networking is free also! LinkedIn has many networking groups with free meetups.

      “You get jobs based on who you know most of the time, not what you know.” so get out there, volunteer, and meet new people!

      • Amy,

        It costs gas money to volunteer. It also takes resources. As someone who does volunteer because I like to, I can tell you that I spend money on any group I’m involved with. It might be dues, or gas money, or time, but it’s money. Networking on Linkedin.com may be ‘free’ but it costs time. Time is money. Not saying don’t do these things, just saying that it costs money, and some people cannot afford to do them. A single mom for instance, is not going to have time to volunteer for much. We have to be realistic. Some people have a lot more to worry about, such as eating. I’m lucky I have my own business, but many people aren’t cut out for that.

    • So true Stephanie. Even when you want to volunteer, unless you are getting funds to cover your expenses it is unlikely you will be able to afford it, and taking someone to coffee is definitely unaffordable on £65 per week!

  41. All 5 things mentioned in the article are useful, but I strongly believe more emphasis should be placed on blogging. Since leaving my job three months ago I decided to change fields, and started a blog about my new industry. So far the blog has seriously improved my networking ability, placed me in contact with leading experts in my field, and I’ve got two interviews this week both of which were a direct result of the blog. I can’t recommend it more highly. And best of all, it’s totally free!

  42. I have been doing all of these without much success. I am currently pursuing my Bachelor’s Degree in Human Resources Management, had an awesome internship through my local United Way, volunteer for Pink Slip Mid-Michigan, attend networking events and have a large (over 1,100 contacts) professional network as well as a professional online presence. I am a member of the Michigan Economic Developers Association and am interested in the economic development field, primarily talent attraction and retention.

    I’m still unemployed and finding unpaid opportunities but am shot down for any paid positions due to “lack of experience.” Even though I’m a non-traditional student with over seven years of medical background and administrative support. I have transferable and interpersonal skills but not a lot of actual hands experience in Human Resources.

    • Tiffany,

      I did all of these things just to pass time it was a hard time. I have my PHR and was unemployable too much experience e can you believe it – I went to a temp agency they had nothing for 2 years. We spoke and she said I just received a receptionist position but we recommend you take things off your resume so you are not over qualified. I was dumbfounded… I had spent time and money to educate myself to get a job and follow the norm… thankful that I created my own online business for very little start-up cost. After I I found out about this opportunity I made it my mission to help those who are unemployable. Please feel free to reach out I can show you an easier way… you can teach what you know and love and help many people along the way.

      • Hi Katherine I have been searching for work for months! I have a similar story to Tiffany. How did you start the start-up company? Very interested. Email me. Thanks!

      • Katherine, this is my 3rd time on unemployment because in 4 years the only jobs I seem to get are temp jobs… in 4 years I have been unemployeed for 2 of them. Would love to hear your ideas on starting an on-line business. Please contact me.

      • Hi Katherine, I am definitely interested in starting an on-line business and would love to hear how you did this for very little cost. Please email me.

  43. Thanks.A great article for those job searchers like me.

    I do practice a lot Networking,the best mean to enlarge the social and professional network. Although sometimes you have to pay for taking part and meals,…but I do believe that it is a kind of investment and you will soon have your ROI.

    Keep a positive attitude and go to the gym to avoid depression and lacking self confidence when your jobsearch is taking too long time.

  44. I have interviewed many candidates who have been unemployed. One question I ask is “what have you been doing with your time away from work?” As an employer I always looked for the candidate to be doing something with purpose like volunteering, education, refreshing current skills, self-improvement like exercise/diet. This article is on point for what employers will look for. Yes, it is an uncertain time in your life, but if you push that aside, and treat these suggestions as an investment in your future, you will stand a much better chance in the interview than your competition. By the way, I became unemployed in January and am following the advice of this column – taking an on line course, volunteering, networking and most importantly, building an on line presence. Employers will see your resume, and judge you by your Linked In Connections and how you behave on Facebook. Take the time to make them see the person they will want to hire.

    • Brian,
      I appreciate your comments. One of the things that I’d love to know more about is how to perfect my online presence and keep it from being too limited to what I’ve done in the past job. Can you suggest some tips for success?

  45. volunteering is one of the best things you can do while unemployed. you realize that there are more people besides yourself who have greater needs, it builds up your inner character that you are an unselfish person.

    hiring managers like to see more of that.

  46. This is an excellent peace of paper for the unemployed persons, I will agree with the writer, however we should add searching websites and reading newspapers in this article.

  47. Great article! Always nice to know that you are not alone …

    Stay positive and keep believing in your qualities : it’s not because you are getting negative answers that you have a bad profile. On the contrary !

    Looking for a new job is not simple but I truly believe I will find the right one soon :-)

    Networking as you said is a powerful mean … so I keep going.

    Thanks for this motivating article.

    Take care.

  48. This is an excellent article for those who were unemployed and those who were already employed and intended to achieve more in their career.

  49. I don’t care too much for the article, but, love the photo. It shows that this country is in sad shape thanks to the current leadership.

  50. Yups! I’m agree with all these point. But…it’s hard when we’re try to start as volunteer. Unemployed meants we dont’t have a job and need for money also…

  51. Hey I think these five tips are great!

    I am actually currently doing voluntary work at an accounting firm, and also looking for work in my field!

    It is a great opportunity as some of it is uni related. Although I would like a job in my area ASAP.

    I think I need to network more !

  52. I live in Denmark.

    When I read this I got a strange thought: Did our government read this?

    Because here in Denmark we have rather restrictive laws to keep the unemployed people in line:

    To get your unemployment ensurance paid you MUST:
    (0.) Apply for at least a certain number of jobs pr. week. (The number depend at what categories of work you seek.)
    That law exist to prevent that unemployed people do not seek jobs they are not qualified for.
    In short: In Denmark the law say you MUST be “applying to so many jobs”…

    (1.) Though volunteering is not illegal, in Denmark, while being unemployed, it will get your unemployment ensurance pay reduced.
    So: The more volunteering you do the less unemployment ensurance pay you get.
    In short: In Denmark the law say you MUST know that “Applying to jobs IS a full-time job”, else …

    (2.) Though getting educated is not illegal, in Denmark, while being unemployed, it will get your unemployment ensurance pay reduced.
    So: The more education you get the less unemployment ensurance pay you get.
    In short: In Denmark the law say you MUST know that “Applying to jobs IS a full-time job”, else …

    (3.) Though having a part time job is not illegal, in Denmark, while being unemployed, it will make you loose your unemployment ensurance pay completely.
    In short: In Denmark the word ‘job’ means ‘full time job’, else you better “change your mindset” in a hurry…

    And the danish government still continue this process of closing those holes that make it too tempting to be unemployed.

  53. i do agree with all of he points but my worry is about the last point.Would not following too much of your aspiring bosses online create an impression that you waste most of your time online instead of doing something much more productive like the volunteering tasks as said above

  54. Great article. What i know is that when you are going through the rough patch, we want things to happen “yesterday”. we, most of the time, are inclined to dismiss advice like this due to what we are currently feeling. I would say consider these points and apply them. I have been there, i know it works.

  55. Complete waste of time…in reality none of this matters….because in the end some bozo is going to make the decision of whether you are employed or not.

    • Another piece of advice: Getting a job is mutual, be the person you’d like to work with. If you take the attitude “some bozo is going to make the decision” then YOU are the bozo that’s making the decision easy for the company you’re talking to.

      • That “attitude” as you call it doesn’t drop out of thin air…it develops after many years of lack of appreciation and being used…which seems to be OK for many around here.

        You can only put on a smile and be appreciative for so long…it takes two to tango…and usually the one taking isn’t the one tango-ing…

        If you want to go about your life kissing a$$…by all means…do so. That’s your prerogative.

        • Noz, I think you are confusing “being the person you want to work with” with “a$$-kissing.” They are not the same thing. With a$$-kissing, you are being the person that the interviewer/recruiter/employer is (or wants you to be) and let me tell, there are soooo many cases where that’s not a good idea. There are so many times when the person you want to work with is not the person who’s interviewing you.

          Although it maybe risky to be too picky when you’re still unemployed, but there will always be cases where some of the places you apply to just aren’t a good fit. If you try to become what you are looking for, then maybe that could attract you to employers that could be a good fit.

          Yeah, this is all subjective and could easily be nonsense, but it’s clear to me that you misunderstood what John-looking was saying. He was talking about finding out what you want. A$$-kissing is more about what the person you’re trying to impress wants.

  56. You neglacted to mention an important aspect of being unemployed in my mind. You can sleep till noon, relax a little, yes you need to scan the job openings and dilegently send out applications, but I’ve always enjoyed some aspects of being unemployed. When else are you going to be able to watch all 5 seasons of Mad Men in one massive binge?

  57. I like the photo, just curious to know whether the girl holding the cardboard is really unemployed or is she just a model?

    One tip when applying for a job: be sure that your writing at least sounds grammatical and idiommatic. If you write, “Apply to job…” (as in the first paragraph of the article), your application letter is guaranteed to be deleted instantly in the HR manager’s In box.

  58. I agree! but I also have to agree with some of earlier comments mentioning about finance of being freelance.
    Being a freelance is no easy – I have to tell you from my own experience, but it is absolutely fun, great, and makes me happy – of course, so long as I am not backrupted. Of course, you need some financial freedome to do what you actually love – and again of course, somepoeple some how manage to do without much money – they tend to find financial backbone to back them up. I have decided to take on a sub job that is not really my core background, but pays me well enough to get me through, in the mean time, I will carry on with what I need to do for my real job to thrive. Every one of us has different circumstance, and we need to approach it accordingly. Nothing in this world/life is easy.

  59. I love it that someone with a job is telling someone without a job what to do to get a job. Networking is not the best way to get a job. I’ve done too much of it while volunteering and I’ve received no job offers. I don’t have the answers to get a job, otherwise I wouldn’t spend time on Linked In. It is disheartening to see friends who were engineers working at Home Depot or grocery stores.

  60. I agree with most points except the volunteering bit. Volunteering when one’s finances is constrained doesn’t help, as incidental expenses like commuting to volunteer someplace, having to spend on meals at an eatery (as opposed to staying home and having home-cooked food, which is ALWAYS cheaper), long hours volunteering, which can hinder one’s job-search, are all factors one should consider. Having been through this once, I know it can help freshers get some experience, but for mid-career professionals, it ends up being counterproductive. When I volunteered at an NGO once, they realized my ability to contribute in multiple roles, so I was saddled with so much “volunteer” work that it hardly left me with time to focus on job search. My only intention of volunteering was to keep myself engaged productively, but guess it didn’t work, as I gave much more than I got from the experience. Hence, I would recommend freelancing for mid-career professionals, rather than volunteering (unless it can lead to getting a job in the same place).

    • I have to agree. I am currently working a temp job and that is my main source of sustenance right now. If I were volunteering, I wouldn’t even manage as long as I have during my job search.

    • agreed and well stated. as the old adage goes…”why buy the cow, when the milk is free?” Once you are viewed as a “not to be paid” volunteer…you are typecast as such with that organization forever. At least that has been my experience. Freelancing is okay for gas money, but unless you are “best in class,” don’t bet your mortgage on it…that is, if you even still have a home left!

      • In the real world, ‘volunteer’ work too is like a regular day job, particularly in India. Unless you know the top-shots in the NGO you choose to volunteer, you are just setting yourself up for exploitation. I speak from experience in working with a reputed so-called not-for-profit NGO (never mind that they use donors’ money for a jet-setting lifestyle of their top execs), but crib about paying even a honorarium to volunteers to meet certain expenses. Perhaps NGOs in developed countries are more mature, and are also well regulated to prevent such situations.

    • Dear Ramesh,

      You are 100% right.Same thing happened in my case also.I was with Bajaj Auto Ltd. they have implemented the VRS scheam which was actually CRS in this scheam I could not get the sufficient amount niether good job in professional organization due to my edge factor.Many time I adopted to be a volunteer & set the business of many others but my exp.is a very bad,you know present nature of the society.

      • Dear Mr. Rasane, I can empathize with you as I have been thru a similar situation and it was one of the toughest phases of my life getting back to re-employment following some volunteering (which only ended up draining my resources, as recruiters brushed aside that phase as ‘irrelevant’). In India we don’t have the concept of volunteering with corporate sector firms, so only NGOs in the social sector welcome you with open arms for the capabilities you bring to the table (free of charge, of course). In India, the social sector is not just too unorganized, but is terribly disorganized as well. After my experience, I never recommend volunteering in this sector to anyone. It’s much better to take up even low-paying jobs (BPO jobs?) to earn one’s living rather than volunteer and get taken for a ride by all and sundry.

    • That is a rather selfish reply. I volunteer and I work 50 hours a week. Volunteering is a great contribution to your career. It shows future employers that you are willing to donate your time and contribution without being monetarily motivated. For everyone complaining about the financial aspect, if you really do not have enough savings or financial backing to catch a bus or pack a lunch I do not know what to tell you. It just sounds altogether that these are the type of people who stay unemployed because they didn’t plan properly and are solely financially motivated. If I were a company I probably wouldn’t hire someone so greedy, complaining, or lazy. When I was unemployed from my career I found a part time job, and volunteered and altogether still had time to find a new job while working/volunteering 50 hours a week. Those who are willing to put in genuine effort will find a job.

      This is an EXCELLENT article and is exactly the same thing I did when I was temporarily employed. People need to stop complaining and negative. I think these points are excellent but the people who are complaining aren’t proactive and say “oh well I read some stuff online, I’m gonna go watch t.v., apply to a hundred jobs without actually putting genuine effort into the application”, and then expect a job to just fall in their lap. Employers do not want people that can just perform a job, they want people who strategize, plan, solve problems.

      If you can’t solve your own problems and have a negative and counterproductive, complaining attitude towards things like volunteering in life then why would they want you at their company. People need to stop thinking me, me, me. It isn’t about you, it is about what you can do for THEM.

      • You can hold onto your opinion even though I disagree with it as you completely missed the point I was trying to make. Besides, you haven’t mentioned if you volunteered while being out of work, or used the period to just keep yourself engaged. Moreover, it appears that you had no pressure to provide for your family while being out of work (if at all you were). Volunteering when one is out of work, in search of gainful employment is vastly different from volunteering to keep oneself busy. Hence, I wouldn’t want to make value judgments like you do. I don’t know which part of the world you live in, but work cultures can vastly differ across geographies. I have shared my experience so others who may consider volunteering (in India, at least) will be forewarned about what to expect while volunteering, even if as a worst case scenario.
        I chose to volunteer out of concern for the target group the NGO I volunteered at were working with. I had nothing to gain monetarily, but it did concern me when I became aware of the corporate style jet-setting lifestyle of their senior staff. I had this and some operational issues with the NGO and quit to take up a part-time job instead, which eventually led me to my present well-paying job.
        Lastly, I also shared my experience because NONE of my prospective employers took note of my volunteer work, which was considered “irrelevant”.
        Anyway, as I had mentioned earlier, I agree with all other points in the article, but have reservations about ‘volunteering’ while being unemployed. Volunteering at one’s leisure is quite different from volunteering when one is jobless.

      • 1. I am not lazy. Even unemployed I continue to do volunteer work but it is cutailed for financial reasons.
        2. It is not greed but my money is running out. I am about to lose my house and my wife has cancer.
        3. I spend every day looking for work. Hours filling out online applicatios and inane tests asking if I ever wanted to kill my boss or stab a customer. Travelling 150 miles to go on an interview at the main office to ook for another job. Printing resumes and hours posting myself for all to see on Linkedin and other job boards. How much in gasoline, printing costs (the US currency should be on a printer ink standard) etc.
        4.I am 52. I was a top ten salesman in my district and top profit for dollar salesman in my store when I was let go. I went wherever my employer told me to go and did what needed to be done whether or not I got recompense. I was replace by a teenage college student with less profit per hour than I.
        5.My wife has cancer. I have to take care of her, look for a job and do my volunteer work. I drive 150 miles to an interview where they tell me, “there is the computer” take this test and we’ll call you back.
        You tell me. What more can I do? Re-training takes money I haven’t got. I have been to job counseling. I was told that companies don’t want me because I have a good work record and do volunteer work. They are afraid that I will get settled in and then a headhunter will take me away to another job. “Over qualified”.

        • Hi Louis,
          I am very sorry to hear about your wife’s illness and your housing situation. And as you say, some of the hurdles applicants are put through is enough to make any of us crazy. I wanted to throw out a couple ideas which you may have already tried, but here they are just in case.

          1. Given your successes and experience, is there a way you could manage other sales people? I don’t know if that’s an interest but it sounds like given your track record,which you can point to as solid accomplishments already done, this might be a path to pursue.
          2. Couple #1 with research on your industry to be a thought leader/expert/solution provider as was suggested above by another writer here. I believe so few people take the time to do this that you would just stand above the crowd. You are NOT an applicant or a supplicant—you’re an expert and you have ideas and strategies to offer–and a track record to prove it. Some fortunate company is going to end up hiring you and gaining the benefits of your experience. I would just ignore the overqualified comments.

          3. Many people here say they are networking, but few say HOW they do it. I know you are very busy applying places, understandably, and I was not sure how much networking you were doing, but from the folks I speak to, this really is job 1. Here are some ideas which may sound unusual but which I have seen work well in BUILDING RELATIONSHIPS which is key to the jobhunt success:

          a. Start by cutting the pressure on your contact and tell them you want to discuss getting their feedback on your target compnay list, your biography, and the startegies you are using.
          b. Ask if THEY know anyone at these companies or know about those companies—maybe there are some you should avoid.And ask for 3 more contacts they could put you in touch with for more discussions.
          c. Say they don’t necessarily have to know anything about job openings—this will take the pressure off them. You need their advice and contacts so you can keep networking.
          d. Stay in touch with them afterwards so they will keep you in mind in case they encounter contacts or positions later.
          e. Consider an email newsletter every month to people you have networked with—you don’t see this much but from those who do it, I hear they have gotten great feedback. People can always opt out if they don’t want to receive an email—keep it brief.

          One more idea for interviews—a friend said she prepared a brief 2-4 page Powerpoint bulletized summary for each interview where in the left hand column was the job requirement and the right hand column was her qualifications and experience. She would just have to tweak it a little for each job. She would leave it behind at the end of each interview—talk about going above and beyond and doing something NO ONE DOES! She said employers were blown away at her proactive approach—it set her apart. It also covered some things that may have been missed in the interview.

          Best wishes as you talk to contacts and employers about your expertise and solutions to take the compnay to a new level of sales and success.

  61. Article is good.
    But still, when anyone is unemployed.
    person must think about their Business plans. In that case i agree all previous contacts and new contacts (Networking) matters.
    That’s the most important time when applicant groomed himself, cover his/her negative points. because it’s already an Business Man.

    Means every unemployed Person in Entrepreneur.

  62. Maybe — Look for work should be the first thing on the list —

    The only job you should have if you have no job is — 40 hours a week looking for work — after that you can spend 20 more hours on the 5 things you listed and 20 more hours taking training courses

    • Absolutely Rick. That’s exactly what landed me my next job following a volunteering stint. While doing a part-time job to earn a living, I re-skilled and got some certifications under the belt, which made a huge difference to my becoming employable.

  63. Nothing is more truthful than this article, concerning Architecture and Building Construction. In these fields, freelancing is the norm, and full time employment is the dream-of exception. I had first-hand experience of all the 5 points made here, and find them true and very relevant.

  64. This is good advice, but it leaves a little something to be desired. While doing these things may help you get the job you are looking for in the long run, how do you do any of these in the short term ? I don’t know about you, but my unemployment is only enough for a tank of gas, some food and to pay my heat and electric. Sometimes, it doesn’t even cover those.

    So where is this magic money coming from that you can start a new business, free lance or take classes to improve your skills ?? I live in an area where public transportation is just not there. The closest city where I can volunteer is over an hour drive (one way) and those jobs are even hard to get.

  65. very nice article for new comer in the open job market. but the disappointments (rejections/ decline) at the beginning of one’s career is truly a heart wrecking experience.

  66. Thanks for the tips but how many points are valid in this…even we make efforts most of the times jobs are not given to the person who deserves but to the people with personal references and relatives and friends and without strong in financial part you cannot do any thing..like freelancing…volunteering etc

    • Very true. Particularly in these times of prolonged economic recession, companies don’t even post most jobs on career websites or hire placement agencies, but prefer to hire through employee referrals (to cut costs) or recommendations from senior staff. Under these circumstances, volunteering is counterproductive. Freelancing is much more preferable though.

  67. Agree. During the unemployment, the main problem is financial. Some tips..
    1. Sell products online (ebay etc)
    2. teach & Share your expertise
    3. Freelancing

  68. These are from the 90s. Networking now consists of informing someone at a networking event that you are unemployed and getting a response such as “get in line I know 10 other people who are as well.”

  69. Are you serious? Oh, and you should also brush your teeth & wear clothing to an interview!!!! Do you really think this advice is going to make a difference for anyone? If you need to follow this advice, you DESERVE to be unemployed!!!! Mickey Dees is calling your name to flip crapburgers for minimum wage. Get real, morons!

  70. This is a great article. I agree with the author’s suggestions. I would also add that we are always taught to sell ourselves and talk about our accomplishments when we are networking or being interviewed; however, more and more employers are looking for bright people with outside the box creative ideas. An important aspect of becoming hirable is to be able to show rather than tell.

  71. The article is fine if you have money coming in or you saved enough to make your bills, but if you are like most people…you’re on state or federal unemployment and are required by law to look for a certain number of jobs every week till you run out of funds from them or till you start working again. That means that you typically are getting just enough to eat, have a roof over your head and barely make the rest of your bills. That also means you are not likely to volunteer since that takes time away from looking for work. It also means you can’t freelance because that would mean you can’t typically get unemployment. And for most job seekers today…they already have some online presence…so that’s a no brainer there…and they already know well how to network. Updating your skills tho…for a lot of people can really only be done when you are working again. A bit hard to keep up on your bulldozer skills if you haven’t got a bulldozer. And you can’t really keep up on corporate skills if you haven’t a corporation. Nor can you keep up on engineering skills if you haven’t an engineering lab full of test equipment and sophisticated CAD mainframe computers.

    • Regarding “time away from looking for work”, I’m curious, what you are doing in that time? Polishing your resume? Sending out resumes? 60-80% of jobs are found through connections? If you play the odds, time out connecting is more likely to get you a job than time applying to jobs the traditional way.

      Regarding your skills, volunteer organizations need marketers, builders, engineers, managers, and every other skill.

        • Tom, sorry for the delay in response, but yes, I have been out of work in the past and did more volunteering than when I was working. In fact, early in my career, I ended up getting hired by the husband of one of the people I volunteered with.

  72. I’m a recent college grad. Unemployed. College is useless. I would’ve had a great career by now if I volunteered/freelanced/apprenticeshiped* for four years.

    • Why? If volunteering makes me feel good, that is selfish, so perhaps I shouldn’t do it? If I volunteer at a homeless shelter because I want to get out of the house and meet other people, that is selfish. Personal gain and volunteering are not mutually exclusive.

      • Drew,
        The article states, “Volunteering can increase your chances of being hired if you’re strategic about it.” This statement suggests that there is more to be gained from volunteering than an healthy psyche. IMO this perverts all the goodness that resides from volunteering. Would you suggest I volunteer my time at Target House helping children dying from cancer as a path to improve my employer prospects? Hopefully not.

  73. What about the financial part behind? Nobody wants to talk about that part. Lots of people out there don’t have any money and can barely get around either by bus or car and some don’t even live in cities close by to volunteer. I live in a city in a travel state where everything is spread that you definitely need a car to get around as the bus/light rail is not enough.

    We fail to mention the financial part when we tell people they should volunteer, do this, do that, etc. Is the financial part really that sensitive?

    • ABSOLUTELY!! They make you feel bad if you are not doing such things. You spend more money when you are unemployed than when you are! Printing, mailing, transcripts (they won’t accept copies), background checks, now fingerprinting (school districts). Where is an unemployed person supposed to get this money when unemployment benefits are constantly cut by government. Miracles that those of us unemployed are not going crazy too.

    • Thank you for mentioning this. I would LOVE to be spending my unemployed time volunteering and otherwise working for free in order to network, but I am legitimately flat broke and CANNOT afford to do either. It has been a demoralizing 2-year struggle and things are slowly starting to look up, but I still by no means have any extra finances to drive around/bus around/etc. and pay for work experiences.
      It is a terrible and vicious circle. Stay strong everyone! Things will work out eventually!

    • That’s the truth to the comment above. Great points. How u gonna volunteer when u barely have resources to keep a roof over ur head. Even after u been saving money. The article forgets some people have families and support them too. Also, how are u going to network when people mostly network at entertainment venues, seminars, conference centers, etc. still places that collect fees to attend. Even if it’s free, parking is not free, the means to get to the destination are not free…this articles has some gaps in the content.

    • Yes, as my unemployment runs out,as I keep losing jobs in a field in which I have 22 years of experience but am told I am “unqualified” to see the job go to a twenty-one year old with zero experience, my $$s run low. Gasoline to go to interviews becomes a problem and I had the time to volunteer while I was working. Now, all volunteer activities stop to job hunt and deal with legal aid so that I do not lose my house and end up living under a bridge. The free-lance jobs are all pie in the sky dream jobs and the listings all bring up Cisco Security warnings. Ok. Not all. Some have MaCafee Security warnings.
      I can no longer afford to take former collegues to lunch, unless it is at the Community Kitchen food bank. Soon I won’t be able to pay for Internet or a telephone. How will prospective employers contact me? No worries. They don’t hire homeless people anyway. They don’t hire unemployed people. They just headhunt folks who are employed at other companies who are not even looking for work. If you ave no internet you can’t apply because no one takes paper resumes anymore, only applications made on the web. Yes money makes a big difference. Keep your resume online while you are employed and bail out on your employer berfore he/she can dump you. Welcome to the Twenty First Century!

    • Hello Marquis. We would have to do with what we have. Start with activities that require less of your resources, such as the internet. I have a PC laptop that I can connect to the network anytime with minimal cost. This facility allows me to establish contacts with people back in the academe, former colleages, and even former suppliers and vendors in the industry. They may not be hiring me, but they refer me to other companies that would need my expertise – and I re-establish contacts. From here I can short list companies that I can pay a visit. What do you think?

      • I contacted my instructors again seeing if they can help. One told me if I learn WordPress he could hook me up with contract work, what time do I have to learn/relearn new things since job hunting takes up a lot of my time?

    • I agree with you. It’s not that the financial part is sensitive, it is that people who write these stories or who get “help you” find work are getting paid to do so and forget. They do not realize that most people on unemployment have to make decisions that could mean the difference between eating that week or not.

      I have had to drop things when I was unemployed just so I could buy Jelly for a PB&J. I mean things like car insurance. I do not live in an area where I can get around or have public transportation to use. So a car is all I have to use. With gas prices on the rise, rent on the rise, wages falling … it is amazing I have not starved yet. Believe me, there were weeks where I only ate two days in that week.

      I have tried networking and improving my skills, but it does not seem to make a difference.

    • A very good comment, with all the hype about selling our-selves let us not forget why we have to do it!
      And advice about how to manage to get out and follow these recommendations on a flat poket would be very welcome

    • This so true. No one wants to and no one will, why? Because they cannot and will not admit the truthful issues is there is no MONEY. Many are free loading and using other peoples money, which those people do not have the balls to say “get out of my pocket.” This really what it boils down to being honest with youself an others. State what is really going on and stay true. Prayer. Work hard at those things and you will come out fine. Change our way of living. Do not purchase everything. Go to Aldi, go to dollar store save that which you do have and it will work. Learn to say No, thank, and walk away.

    • I agree marquis – how to survive????

      I freelance, and sit on a number of volunteer boards, but can’t pay the phone bill! What happens when my dream job finally calls?

      Not everyone has a partner, or parents to support them in the meantime. Sure the article is “helpful’ but it does seem out-of-touch with reality!!!

    • Volunteering and connecting does not have to be in person. You can do marketing, calling, planning, and managing from home. The key is to be working with other people, honing your skills, building those relationships, and showing people what you can do. It’s too easy to simply put the money issue on the forefront and ignore other ways you can connect.

  74. Excellent Post – absolutely to the point. I hired close to 1,000 people in my business life and can’t agree more.

    @Joe De Angelis – not so sure you are right. If you have a word press blog sharing your expertise and experience, it would be easy to find more about you ;)

    @Mark – good point. And add ODesk to the mix. There maybe jobs in the meantime – More importantly you get to compete with others around the world. And THAT will be an eye opening experience.

    @Bill Parker – 100.00% agreed. I hired people who came and knew everything about our business and made suggestions how they contribute to our success. I end conversations with people who had no idea what we are doing within a few minutes.

    @Jenn-B think, re-think and think again. You are apparently not attracting hiring managers, you are not able to compete with others and probably don’t believe in yourself and your skills. You may not even believe you have extraordinary abilities and you can help a company be more successful by taking a critical role. Sorry for my rude and harsh tone – but I feel that is something you need to wake up. What kind of job are you looking for? What do you do to get them? What do you offer that stands out?


  75. It’s rare to see good advice online, esp with points 2, 3, and 4. Keep attending classes, maintain proficiency AND currency. Who wants to hire someone with expired or obsolete certifications? Been there, had to face the music.

  76. I am doing all these except freelancing. I am feeling awesome after reading this article that I am already moving in right direction.
    Thank for nice article.

  77. These are good suggestions. However, freelancing while receiving unemployment benefits has repercussions to those benefits. Usually your benefits are reduced, and they may be denied. Keep that in mind before freelancing (in other words, 1099 freelancing).

    • That’s exactly the comment I was going to make. Freelancing = self-employed. In PA, just the appearance of being self-employed (having business cards for example) — even if you haven’t earned a dime — you forfeit your unemployment.

  78. Great advise many of which awre common sense. I finally got a job after 10 months I have over twenty years in my field. What I observed during this is the following:

    Over 20yrs experience = We can’t afford to pay what your us to.
    Millions unemployed in the country = Companies will lowball salaries.
    The longer your out of the job market the above becomes acceptable sadly.

  79. All good points, but I would clarify with #3 to give, give, give. When you meet with people, find out how you can help them by sharing their content, commenting on blogs, making introductions. It helps you keep in touch while building your “social collateral”.

  80. Be in motion and be active so people will see you and know that you are ready willing and able to perform. Resumes become secondary oncw you start networking. A network session is like an informal interview,

  81. This is an excellent article, clear, concise, and full on motivating. The good hong about it is, I do in fact see myself making time to do these little activities to strengthen my overall skillset.

    Volunteering is an excellent way to build experience, gain new skills, and certainly network.

    Keep the articles coming.

  82. Great article! My suggestion- use part of your time off to become a thought leader in your desired field. It’s easy to outread your fully employed colleagues giving yourself a distinct advantage. (The average American reads just four-six books a year!) Reading a book a month about your field will put you in the 90th percentile! If you are really clever, develop your own “system” for solving a current industry challenge or write a “white paper” on your field. Who would you hire? One who had 10 years experience in marketing or someone with similar job experience but who just wrote a 30-page ebook on marketing solutions for the 10 toughest challenges of 2013.

  83. I too was a looking for work and falling into the mode of depression. Then I stopped and saw there was a world of opportunities out there. I started my own company with a small start up cost it’s the best decision I’ve ever made. If you’d like to chat reach out I’d love to partner up with you and/or answer any of your questions.

  84. Christian Philippe Guay

    While you are unemployed, it could be just a great opportunity for you to look at your career and see if you wouldn’t be happier by starting your own business.

  85. This is a great article. Being Unemployed makes me nervous, and anxious; and in desperate times, I do desperate things.

    I need to refocus my time and energy.

    Thank you!

    • The best way to get in touch of recruiters, go to linkedin under group which you searching, then find recruiter for company which you like to work for, then open his/her profile at the same time find out how many more people he/she talking to, send e mail to each. this will increase your publicity and name sharing. do it few tikes and you get more connections. Have your resume, cover letter ready and send it to them. don’t make several version of resume. your resume should sell you and I know it myself. I am engineer, I get calls from bankers, insurances, all over and they saying, love your resume. Normally younger ladies recruiter having me support to help. Good luck to you and all.

  86. If you’re unemployed you should be getting a profile on TinyCV. It’s free to join and lets you promote your expertise and experiences directly to employers. You can hook up your LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook accounts + much more to help you get headhunted by the best employers. Good luck!

  87. Great article! This is relevant and useful information for both new entrants to the job market and individuals with experience active in the job market for whatever reason. Another valuable piece to add is to learn how to gracefully respond and react to declines/rejections. I am always surprised (disappointed) when I receive a nasty response to a decline email or call. It usually replaces any positive interactions that I may have had with a candidate.

    • YOUR disappointed? How do you think the person who has invested countless hours preparing/researching for the position, interviewed, provided references and recommendations, is duly qualified for the opening, sent follow-up notes & thank you cards/letters, etc. feels about getting the same old load of BS as a “standard/canned”‘response back? People do get discouraged after hundreds and hundreds of sincere efforts to become gainfully employed in this abysmal and toxic job marketplace. The road goes both ways…if you can’t help them, why should they suck-up, back to you? I find most hiring managers current mindsets reprehensible in our world today. I, for one, can remember a much different America than what the tens of millions of “desperately seeking money to live by” are now faced with.

  88. Thank you for the excellent article and multi-stream approach for the job search.

    One important addition to your network section I would add is:

    Ask what YOU can do for your contact.

    Networking should be a reciprocal event so that it doesn’t become an exercise where you are only pressuring your contact about whether they know of any jobs. And be insistent on helping them one way or another. Be creative. Or offer to call them in 2 weeks and see what they may need then. This shows you’re seriously committed to making it a 2-way street. And you’re educating them on what real networking is all about: namely, relationships, now and for the future.

  89. Your suggestion of freelance for freshers is really a valuable advice. Actually, freelance gives far more benefits than one can guess. It’s even suitable for those who have long gaps in employment. One can do it simultaneously with job search. Consider all these benefits. It saves job seekers from getting discouraged during dry search. Then, it also increases the contacts as a side effect. Lastly, it comes handy for job seekers when the dreaded question ‘What you do’ in social interaction or ‘why you did not get a job for so long’ from the interviewer pops up. No interviewer verifies modest turnover claims, and one can easily say that very few orders/payment problems due to downtrend(?) and so regular jobs are welcome!

    • What do you do? Is a typical and unimaginative social question reserved mostly for the 30-somethings because that is their life! Been there, done that, with age and maturity and decades of workplace experience you learn that “what you do” is very rarely “who you truly are.” When a mindless person asks this as an “ice-breaker” question, I realize they are limited in their self-centered world view, and politely excuse myself to try and have a meaningful conversation with someone else.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *