You Need Support With Your Job Search. Who Can Help?
Just today, I acted as a sounding board and emotional support for a friend going through a rough time. This friend is trying to figure how to navigate some of her close relationships as well as feeling restless about what is next in her life. She needs to lean on her support network, and I was happy to help her talk things out. All job seekers could use their own support network. You are involved in a process that invariably will be stressful, with many highs and lows before you get to the end. Just like my friend reached out to me, I highly advise you to have your own support network while going through a job search. These people (and yes, it may not be the same person for all needs) can listen to your frustrations, act as guides when you need advice and be your emotional support through this grueling process. Having a strong team to back you can make the job search process more bearable.
There are several types of people that can be part of your support group. It may be helpful to find people in several of these categories.
Members of your own family are usually the first place that most people look for support. They are the people that you interact with most on a daily basis and know you best. But be careful that you are relying on truly supportive family members who have your back while on a job search. It is not unheard of that family members can be more of a hindrance than a help, with some even sabotaging the job seeker by providing outdated advice, distracting the job seeker with their own needs or by tearing down the job seeker’s self-esteem.
What do you do then if that person is in your family? Sure, you can’t avoid them. What you can do is try to keep them out of your job search “business” as much as possible. If a family member is nagging you about your job search in a way that you do not find helpful, how you respond will depend on your relationship. Parents or spouses often are concerned with what they see as a lack of progress. Playing video games, going to a movie or other non-job search activities can be seen as slacking, especially for those that are more Type A. You might need to set boundaries for your own emotional well being. Responses to inquiries about your job search that you find intrusive can be answered with “I will answer X but not Y about my job search” or “I will update you on a mutually agreed upon schedule.'' If the individual won’t allow you to set any sort of boundaries (in the case of those with very forceful personalities), then be sure to have many others on your team you can talk to and can provide the support you need.
Friends can take on different roles as a part of your support team. One friend may be a great listener, so s/he may be your go-to person when you are getting frustrated by a lack of response to your many job applications. Another friend could act as a coach, especially those that have gone through their own recent job search (just remember that his or her situation may have been very different than yours). Another can be the one that calls you up and invites you to a happy hour because you need to get out of the house. Everyone can use a “squad” to help bolster your spirits and provide perspective. An important addition to your support network should be someone that is a “truth-teller.” While it may be comforting to have people empathize with you, you also need someone on your team that is objective and can tell you things that you might not want to hear. Remember, only hearing what you want to hear will not get you any closer to that dream job.
Aside from conducting worship services, clergy have a focus on the well-being of their congregations. If you are religious, your clergy, whether priests, ministers, pastors, rabbis, or imams, can help you through challenging times, and one of those might be, as an example, a period of unemployment. If you feel it would be helpful to speak with someone about your situation and receive some guidance, your clergy might also have a role in your job search support team.
Did you know there are job clubs? All over the US and abroad, groups of people come together to learn from and support each other through their job search. Often these groups are facilitated by a person knowledgeable about hiring. Best of all, everyone in the group knows the challenges of a job search. Meeting with others on a regular basis can help with feelings of isolation which sometimes happen if you are out of work. Through participation in one of these clubs, you may learn important job search strategies and tips as well as expand your network. Donna Svei, an executive resume writer, recently posted on her blog about job clubs. You can read what she says and tips to find local job clubs here.
Your Local Job Service
In the United States, The Department of Labor, through the Workforce Innovation and Opportunities Act of 2014, oversees the American Job Centers system. These centers, over 2,400 in total throughout the US, are designed to provide a full range of assistance to job seekers under one roof. These centers offer many services including training referrals, career counseling, job listings, and other employment-related services. I personally know many individuals who work in these centers, and they are wonderful, caring people who really want to help job seekers. A center might have many of the following resources available for free.
Ability to file Unemployment Insurance (UI) Claim
Getting help coping financially with job loss
Learning about community resources
Getting help coping with the stress of a job loss
Getting help in preparing a resume
Getting help with preparing for an interview
Job search strategies
Many of these centers also have services aimed at veterans and younger workers. Some services are available to the general public while others may only be available if you meet certain eligibility requirements. In addition, these centers let job seekers use computers with internet and printer access, and some even have facilities for video interviews. These centers are a resource that many job seekers do not know even exist. Go to the American Job Center web site to find services and a center near you.
As a career coach, I know job seekers can find great value when engaging one to help support their job search efforts. Career coaches can help with all facets of the job search. Career coaches are especially helpful for those wanting to change careers or those unsure of what they want to do next. Career coaches can help job seekers develop a strategy for their job search, including important marketing pieces like resumes and LinkedIn profiles. Career coaches also can be cheerleaders in your corner as well as truth-sayers when you need it. While career coaches are not free, the investment may very well be worth it to shorten your job search and find the job of your dreams.
When you are looking for a job you will go through a multitude of feelings. Searching for a job is tough. You have to be resilient as you inevitably deal with rejection. If you are the one that is used to calling the shots, it may be difficult when you are dependent on the decisions of others. If you are not currently working, you may feel isolated and a lengthy job search may also have you feeling like no one wants you. That is why it is so important to start your job search with a strong support network. These people can help provide a pick-me-up on especially hard days and help you feel positively towards yourself. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.