2009 March 16

kustom20kit20classicJob losses can be very traumatic – they hit you emotionally and financially but they also have an impact on your family. Here are some ways to deal with the immediate aftermath of job loss.

Seek out support

It’s easy to feel that you are alone, or that it’s best for you to keep a ‘stiff upper lip’ and hide your feelings, but this doesn’t help anybody – take to someone who can offer you support: if you’re being made redundant, this might be a service provided by your employer, if not, seek out a friend who can listen to your worries, and remember that you’re not a victim unless you let yourself be one.

Take care of you

The way you look is a great indicator of how you feel – depressed and miserable people tend to choose darker clothing, stand badly and don’t make eye contact. On the other hand, healthy positive people choose lighter colours, take care of their clothes and appearance and have a confident air. The amazing thing is that changing your appearance can actually change your mood – if you choose a bright shirt, shine your shoes and smile as you walk down the street, you will feel happier and more confident than if you wear a tatty sweatshirt, old trainers and stare at the ground. In interviews, 40% of the decision is made in the first ten seconds, so getting that first impression right is vital.

Master the art of networking

Your gym, church, social club, pub, allotment site … there are dozens of places that you can network to find another job, whether it’s the career move you’ve always dreamt of or just a stop-gap to keep you in work until the right thing comes up. Don’t tell people you’ve lost your job, tell them you’re looking for a new one. Don’t say you’re unemployed, say you’re looking for new employment. And remember the previous point – you need to look like an employable person, so even in casual situations, make sure your T-shirt is fresh and ironed and your jog pants are tidy and well fitting because the old chap you’re chatting to over the allotment fence could turn out to be the dad of your next boss!

2009 March 9

stedman_mens_budget_tshirts_modelThings aren’t as bad in the UK as in the USA, where there may now be up to ten adults competing even for the part time work that used to be the preserve of the college student or teen who was not yet ready for full-time employment, but it is reaching the point where part-time and casual jobs are definitely getting tougher to snag.  There are things you can do to improve your success in the job hunt though.

  • Let everybody know – your Nan, your best mate, your Dad’s workmates … any of them might know of a job for you
  • If it’s a formal application, make sure you fill the whole thing in and give it to somebody else to check. If you don’t have work experience, put down extracurricular activities, volunteer work and other attributes
  • Look the part – you make an impression before they see you, so make sure your e-mail address is appropriate: no ‘jackass’ or other silly monikers, and research the company to find out what people who work there actually wear. You can do this by standing outside on the opposite side of the street and checking out the staff – if they wear jeans and T-shirts, you should step up a single item, so jeans and a button-down shirt would be ideal, or a T-shirt with smarter trousers or a skirt. If everybody you see wears a polo-shirt, so should you. If they wear suits, guess what, if you don’t have a suit, your absolute minimum interview outfit is a jacket, shirt and formal trousers.
  • Rehearse being interviewed, especially the killer question ‘Why should we give you the job?’
  • Be prepared to face rejection and, where possible, call back into the shop or restaurant if it’s a public job and thank the interviewer even though you didn’t get the job. Leave this call until three weeks after the interview and wear smart clothes but not as smart as your interview wear, so a good shirt and jeans is fine, for example and make it look as if you were just walking past and thought you’d pop in. If the person they did hire isn’t working out too well, you might find you get a job offer on the spot.