“The best way to get a job is to have a job”. This is something that gets reiterated time and time again. A sentence that implies, right from the very beginning, that unemployed job seekers are set to stay unemployed. But why does this attitude prevail, and why is it preferable to always be employed when it comes to looking for something better?
The double-edged sword
As unfair as it sounds, unemployment is seen as a hindrance to job search. There is a prevailing negative stigma about unemployed job seekers and their ability in the workplace, stemming from a dated idea that people in this position are usually the ones at fault.
The general consensus from employers is that an employed candidate is looking to improve themselves, from an already-established position. They have already proven themselves to be hard-working, adequately qualified, and experienced. Because saying, “I am looking for a better job” sounds much better to recruiter than saying you are looking for a new one.
Being unemployed means you will have a harder time convincing potential employers to give you a chance. It will mean having to make a lasting impression about your knowledge and expertise right from the very beginning. This is, of course, doable – but it can be quite difficult. Your passion, your knowledge, and your enthusiasm needs to shine through.
Don’t be discouraged by this. If you are in a situation of unemployment, you just need to find a way to show you are willing to turn things around. Volunteering can fill the gap while you look for something more sustainable, and will give you some much needed experience as well. Basically, you just need to show employers that you are doing something to mend the gap in your resume. Showing that you are not completely idle, even if just means you are volunteering or working a minimum wage job, can help you get back in the running.
For those of you who are lucky to be gainfully employed, don’t wait until it is too late. If you want to get ahead in life, look for a new job while you are in a stable working condition. Even if it seems like you are being ungrateful, looking at what else is ‘out there’ is a vital step for those who are looking for career growth. Here is a guilt-free guide to job searching that will keep you from jeopardizing your current position.
Keep it under wraps
Don’t tell your co-workers you are looking for a new job, and only really share the information with people you know will not divulge this piece of information. This is important, as you don’t want you to burn your bridges – your current employer is likely to feel betrayed by your decision unless they learn it from you first, and this could lead to a bit of awkwardness in the workplace: your co-workers could easily make matters more uncomfortable by letting the information slip. So, until you have secured a position, treat the job search with a sense of secrecy.
Search on your own time
Ditching work for an interview can be seen poor reflection of character. Searching for jobs on a work computer, which is most likely to be monitored by your employer, could easily be enough grounds for dismissal. So, do your job search outside the office, and be upfront to potential employers about your working schedule. If you are invited to interview for a job, try to set up a time before work or during your lunch break. You’ll be surprised at how easily you’ll be accommodated.
A few reminders
Keep your workplace behavior consistent so you don’t raise any alarm bells with managers. Work as hard as you can so they will give you a shining reference when you request it. You want to leave the work on a positive note, so keep your professional integrity intact.
A note on references
Don’t list your current employer or co-workers as referees if they have been kept in the dark about your job search. And make sure to tell prospective employers up-front that you are currently keeping the job search confidential, so they don’t go calling up the company you are working for. They’ll understand.
Finally, keep your habits consistent.
If you work in a casual office and have an interview lined up in the afternoon, take a change of clothes with you so you can get changed before you go. Always be as discreet as possible, don’t take extended lunch breaks, and don’t make yourself look suspicious by taking hidden phone calls while on the clock.
Keep doing things while looking for work so employers know you are a good fit for their position. Make the most of the fact that you are gainfully employed to pave the way for a healthy career progression. Always be employed so you can maximize your chances of being a successful professional. Just remember our tips, and you will breeze through your job search.