5 Job Search Tips if You're Unemployed

If you're unemployed or underemployed and stuck in a rut, there is help available to get your work life back on track. These five resources may be able to help you identify new career opportunities and achieve your career goals.

Job Search Tip No. 1: Leverage Professional Networking Sites

Join appropriate professional networking groups, including those related to your college, on Facebook and LinkedIn. By sharing content pertaining to your profession and engaging with those in your field, you can appear knowledgeable of the industry and create valuable relationships.

To make your profile even more visible to potential employers on sites like LinkedIn, use keywords in your work experience descriptions, write a concise summary of your career, list skills, add websites showcasing your work, and get multiple recommendations.

But think beyond popular social networking sites and also look into ones that can introduce you to industry professionals, such as Mediabistro and Beyond.com. With an account, these platforms provide a variety of resources, including networking events, job postings, news, resume assistance, and online and in-person classes to add to your skill set. Most of these sites are free of charge but provide subscription options that give subscribers access to additional resources, so you will want to familiarize yourself with the way that each site works.

Job Search Tip No. 2: Work With a Job Coach

A job coach can help you break the monotonous cycle of applying to online job postings and regain confidence when re-entering the workforce. He or she works with you to identify what concrete steps are necessary to achieve your career goals and determine whether you're ready to take these steps. Coaches also assist with job search tools, including resumes, cover letters, and social media profiles, as well as personality tests and job description analyses that can establish the type of work and workplaces that best fit your needs.

Depending on location and a job coach's experience, most sessions can range from $100 to $500 per hour. Due to the expense associated with hiring a job coach, you will want a very clear understanding beforehand of what services the job coach will be able to provide and the estimated number of hours that you will need to meet to accomplish your goals. If working with a job coach is a priority for you, you might decide to pay for it out of savings or budget for the cost by reducing entertainment or dining out expenses. Use our household cash flow tracker to help.

If you decide to work with a job coach, make sure he or she has proper credentials. Some of the credentials that a job coach may hold are as follows:

  • Associate Certified Coach (ACC)
  • Certified Career Coach (CCC)
  • Professional Certified Coach (PCC)
  • Master Certified Coach (MCC)

If working with a job coach isn't an option, you have plenty of alternatives to help you jump-start your career.

Job Search Tip No. 3: Revisit Your Alma Mater

Regardless of whether you've been out of college for 10 years or two, check to see if your school offers an alumni mentoring program or other opportunities to learn about networking opportunities. You can pair up with a professional in your desired field for networking tips, practice interviews, and career transition discussions. Since there's a chance your mentor has been in the same situation, you could also gain positive reinforcement for taking the next steps.

Job Search Tip No. 4: Develop New Skills

If your field seems to be flooded with job applicants, review job postings to see what skills are most in demand and devise a plan to develop those skills. Take a look at your local community college. Taking business administration classes or gaining a technical certification could help you differentiate yourself from the pack. You don't have to live in a major city, either: Seventeen community colleges across the country were recently selected to participate in the Job Ready, Willing and Able initiative, which teaches marketable skills for immediate employment in jobs that don't necessarily require a bachelor's degree, such as labor, administrative, and sales positions.

Job Search Tip No. 5: Take Advantage of Community Programs

Check with local religious organizations to see if they offer mentoring groups. Your neighborhood public library may also offer computer workshops teaching skills like creating a digital resume. See if your library provides other job-related programs such as panel discussions featuring business experts.

Whether you choose to work with a job coach, or tap into any number of other job search resources, you can better educate yourself and discover new opportunities while you job search.