Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Work It

We all know I haven't worked since I moved to England.

And that's been hard.

I mean, not like what I've done before was particularly strenuous...

You know, working hard with Stitch...

Most of jobs have been exactly that... Jobs. Not careers.

I do have the face of a professional summer camp counselor

But I have to admit.... The most strenuous part of my life was when I didn't have a job. I've had a job since I was 16. I thought I was going to go nuts!

Whether you choose to be unemployed or you are actively seeking new opportunities, the days can be long and tedious. It can take a toll on your mentality.

In my case, I couldn't work. Under the terms of my visa I couldn't work or even volunteer (thanks UK Border Agency).

When I was finally able to work, it was irritating not getting any calls. Okay, I will admit I am very impatient, especially when it comes to my goals and the time frame when I want them to happen. (I only got approval to work in the UK on the 12th of Feb)

I will say I have been incredibly lucky.

I applied to 10 different jobs. I got 4 interviews, and got offered all 4 jobs. 

Most recently (aka last Wednesday) I got offered the best out of the 4; I considered that one the "stretch". I had my hopes set on it because it was the best hours and pay, but knew there were probably more qualified people going for it as well.

I won't go into detail just because it's new and I'd like to keep at least this one thing private in my life (which admittedly is hard when my entire life is all over the internet).

But I will say that I stayed very proactive during my months of unemployment. In my case, I knew a time frame for when I could work, so a lot of what I did reflected that. 

I'm not a job expert, and I am not claiming to be.

But I do know what helped me stay sane during my days of job hunting and staring at a computer screen. 

Here are my 5 tips for staying proactive during a period of unemployment:

1. Make sure your resume/CV is perfect - That sounds like a given, but you'd be surprised. Checking it every other day for little errors or out of date information can be a lifesaver. That way, when you start applying for jobs you don't have to waste time fixing or changing it. (Prime example, in my CV I have a Personal Interests section that said "I'm currently training for my first half marathon" when I had already done the half! Oops!)

Shameless half marathon pic right there. So in the zone (and looking like I'm catching flies with my mouth!)

2. Make daily lists - Even if they are stupid lists, make them! So many times I just put thoughts in the back of my head saying I'd do them and then they'd get put off for days. Even if the list is "run, remove nail polish, clean sink, organize closet." Write it down (no matter how insignificant the task is) and cross things off your list!

3. Make a cover letter template - In my experience, most cover letters are incredibly similar. Make a generic one that encompasses you and your experience and how that translates to wanting to work for _______. Now when you apply to different jobs, you won't have to write a million cover letters. Just make sure you still proof read before submitting it to a potential employer. Nothing is worse than having the wrong company name in your cover letter!

4. Do things you love - Sometimes, it's hard to want to get up and put on socially acceptable clothing for a day that you have nothing planned for. But maintaining your hobbies definitely helps. For me, it was running! I trained for a half marathon during my months of unemployment. It was a good routine to get into when I had, well absolutely no routine whatsoever! 

5. Still keep a current calender or agenda - I know the last thing you want to do is open up your daily or monthly agenda and be like "oh look at all this nothing I have to do!" But keep it up to date with events or plans you make ahead of time. When you do start getting interviews, you'll be happy you did! You might forget about that wedding next month or how you promised your cousin you'd help them move.

Like I said, there may be many reasons why you are unemployed.

The economy still isn't great. More and more people aren't finding the right fit at their current job. You can't find something that utilized your degree.

But if you're trying your luck at the job hunting game, these 5 things really can help you stay sane and positive about the outcome!  

Have you had a period in your life where you couldn't work or couldn't find work? What tips would you give someone to stay proactive during a time of unemployment??


  1. Congratulations on the new job!! I have been lucky in that I have always had employment, I think I'd go a bit stir crazy if I was unemployed.

  2. Congrats on the new job! That's so exciting :)

  3. Congrats! That's great news that you got a job!


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