7 Tips for the Unemployed

3.6 million Americans have lost their jobs since the recession began and the rat race isn’t getting any easier. More and more jobseekers are looking for new ways to make themselves valuable to possible employers. John McKee, Founder and CEO of BusinessSuccessCoach.net argues that unemployment isn’t all bad, and in fact, can be a big opportunity. Here are some of his tips for success despite unemployment.

1. Be your own boss.
Have you ever considered opening your own business? Let that dream of yours become a reality and help patch up your community economy. And who actually enjoys getting bossed around?

2. Your mommy always said you were special, but outsourcing doesn't care.
In this day and age, many jobs that used to exist have been replaced by a computer. Also, many jobs can be shipped overseas. Know that your job (if you have one) is a precious commodity, and don’t let yourself get too comfortable.

3. Be honest with yourself.
Analyze yourself. Do a SWOT plan—a self-analysis of your Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. This can be applied whether you are hunting for a job or you are worried about losing the one you hold. Be honest—if you are not an organized planner, tell yourself so, and set out goals to change it. If you thrive on interpersonal communication to get your foot in doors, tell yourself so and use your talent to get ahead.

4. Skills to pay the bills.
Obviously, having a sexy resume can’t hurt when it comes to the big job interview. Also, depending on what field you’re in, you may not be the only person who is well qualified for the job. McKee recommends seminars, coursework and any other skill enhancement vehicles that can amplify your value as a potential employee.

5. Construct a “Personal Action Plan”.
Without a plan, you could wander around aimlessly with no way to measure your success. “Personal Action Plans” take the three pieces of yourself into consideration for the future: your professional self, your personal self who does things purely for enjoyment and your financial self, who understands and manages money. Write down what you would like to see out of your three "selves" for the future, then write down a plan how you will get to that place.

6. Facebook isn’t just for college kids anymore.
Utilize the social networking sites to your advantage. They are called “networking” sites for a reason—they are a great place to meet people and you can show them a side of you that you want them to see. Post your resume on your page and meet lots of people in your field. Linked In, Plaxo and Facebook are great resources just waiting to be taken advantage of.

7. Stay busy—Don’t dwell on the past.
If you have lost your job, it’s easy to fall into a downward spiral of demoralization. McKee says that staying busy can actually increase your potential—improving self-esteem and sheer ability. He suggests volunteering to keep yourself motivated and help others. Volunteer work is a gold mine when it comes to networking, McKee says.

For more career planning advice, check out McKee’s book “Career Wisdom – 101 Proven Strategies to Ensure Workplace Success” and “21 Ways Women in Management Shoot Themselves in the Foot”.

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