So you’re unemployed! You’ve been out of work for a year, or maybe two years and you’re struggling to make a dent on employers’ doors. I know it’s hard, I honestly do. I know that pride and confidence can be casualties of war when you’re battling to get back to work, because every non-response and every email beginning with ‘I regret on this occasion…”, is like a bullet hitting you. I haven’t got the answer to getting back to work, making yourself feel better, or how to prop up your self esteem, but I can tell you what I’m doing and you can decide if it’s worth trying.

I was working until November 2011 for Real Radio, albeit for only 6 months. This was my last full-time, paid job and since then I’ve been looking for work every day in newspapers, magazines, the job centre and on-line not just for similar jobs, but for any job I think my experience can be adapted to. I didn’t think that it would be an easy task by any means, but I didn’t think that 27 months later I would still be unemployed.

For the most part I don’t get a response from employers or recruitment agencies, but then it’s unreasonable to expect one from them when they are deluged by applicants for each post they advertise. Unfortunately this does take its toll and at some point, you begin to question your past experience and its value. “Was I just lucky to have had those other jobs?” “Are the skills I have worth nothing?” “Am I, for whatever reason, unemployable?” These thoughts are negative and I’ll concede that point, but remaining positive after this length of time is not easily achieved.

I don’t know about good or bad luck, but I do know that if you are out of work for a long time then your skills will be rusty at best, if not completely out-of-date. The only way to improve this is to get some kind of training, whether that is through a training company, a friend or a ‘welfare to work’ provider. I took two courses through Pitman Training in 2013, which were funded via my Independent Learning Account. They were Twitter for Business and Social Media Strategy for Business, both of which I passed with distinction. I was also fortunate enough to have a family connection with a business who needed someone to help with their Facebook presence, so the courses and the practical application of the skills coincided perfectly.

From a self esteem point of view it has been a blessing, because aside from job searching I have something worthwhile to do during my days. I treat each day like a working day, getting up as if I was going to work and starting my tasks at the same time I’d begin them in an office. Even though I’m not on the payroll, I enjoy what I do and hope that it will open doors for me into a new career. To that end I have taken responsibility not just for Facebook, but for Yelp, TripAdvisor, Foursquare and most recently, Twitter. I am using Hootsuite to schedule posts/tweets in advance for Twitter and Facebook, which is extremely useful even for a free version. I also create all of the promotional images used by the business on social media, using Photoshop Elements 6.0 to edit photographs taken by myself and a few others (See below). I am teaching myself Photoshop by way of a combination of YouTube tutorials, guide books and software, bought very cheaply via eBay.

If I can’t work, then I must train. It’s the only thing I have any kind of control over and if I am to get back into real work for real pay, I clearly need something on my CV other than 2 year old skills! It’s not a quick fix by any means and have no idea if it’s a fix at all, but what I do know is that I am trying and that I am SEEN to be trying by prospective employers.

Open Mic Nights promo created March 2014

Open Mic Nights promo created March 2014

Wine promo created March 2014
Wine promo created March 2014

Advertisements