I have never had trouble finding a job, until this year. In fact I always found it rather easy to find work. But 2013 has been different. I was laid off my job suddenly on January 2nd, 2013. I went into work on Jan 2, after a very nice week off, to be told my position no longer existed before I could even sit down at my desk. No notice, no severance. I was just gone.
Since then I have sent my resume out I think to every Social Media agency there is in Toronto. I have also applied for at least 400 posted jobs. Some not even in social media. Some were for customer service roles, some were for call centers, and some were for daycare roles all positions I have worked in, and I have great references for every job I ever worked.
Four hundred resumes went out, and not a single call. Not a single interview. I started to collect EI and worked hard on my blog and for few freelance projects I was able to garner, but as my EI ended in June I was still unemployed and at wits end. I had also spent hours looking for work each week. For those of you who have read my blog for a long time know I worked hard a number of years ago when I was a mom who had to take time off work and collected welfare as my daughter had some serious health issues that we were finally able to fully resolve last year. I was sure I would find work before my EI ran out but I didn’t. I hated the idea of having to collect welfare. I still hate the thought. If it comes to that we will have to move and well we have had a stable little apartment for a couple of years now, something my teen needed.
So what did I do, and what have I learned on this journey so far:
1. When working make sure you have an emergency fund. At the beginning of this year I would of said 6 weeks was enough but boy was I wrong. You have to be prepared financially for the worst. So I now say you have to have at least 90 days of cash available.
2. While unemployed, do not go into any kind of debt. Do not use your credit cards, line of credit etc as it could come back and haunt you, especially if you are unemployed for awhile.
3. Network and network some more. I have learned to be out meeting new faces, new people, you never know when one of those new contacts might lead to work. I have been blessed these last few months that a number of my friends who do work for agencies have been able to use my skills to assist them in meeting client objectives. I have been able to find some freelance very short term work assignments, this has helped me to be able to afford the necessities of life. I have been extremely grateful for each and every offer.
4. Seek to update any skills you are weak on. I have taken a few small courses, attended conferences and webinars learning the latest in my field. Now if you really cant find a job and you are lacking skills you can go back to school, here in Canada if you were on EI you can often get assistance through the Second Career program. This is what I am considering doing as I can upgrade my design skills, and perhaps learn some code along the way.
5. Dont sit at home, get out, and volunteer. There are many great non profit organizations that can use a helping hand, and this allows you to again meet people, and that I have found it is always a good thing.
6. Budget carefully. Right now I can say this, until this week I did not know where rent was coming from. At the begining of summer I sat my daughter who is 15 down and told her it was primarily a summer of basics and free events. I would also use my stacked up AirMiles for Wonderland and the CNE, so she could have at least some summer fun. We set up a bare bones budget and so far freelance work has covered it barely. I still have to watch where every penny is spent.
Do I know where or when this journey of unemployment will end, no I don’t and if you know someone who is hiring, and you think I might be a good fit for them please do let me know.
If you think you could use my help do let me know, I am available for sponsored content creation, twitter parties, twitter moderation, content curating, social media training, digital strategy planning, customer services, competitor analysis, event assistance and community management.
Any other tips for the long term unemployed that you can think of, please do share them in the comments.