7 Tips To Get Off Unemployment ASAP From Someone Who’s Been There

Online article on job hunting for JobMob

If you’re out of work and hunting for a job, you’re not alone. At first, that may be kind of comforting, but it also means there’s plenty of competition.

Not too long ago I was in your shoes. The syndicated radio company I worked for as a producer shut its doors in January of 2009 – not a very good time to start a job search by any means. It took me about nine months to find a part-time job and more than a year to get back to full-time employment.

But I learned a few things along the way (many of them the hard way). I can’t guarantee you that following these seven suggestions will make your time unemployed completely pain-free, but I know they’ll help make it shorter.

1. Look Busy

You’ve probably heard it’s a good idea to do some volunteering, freelancing or consulting work while you look for a new career. That’s often easier said than done. Looking for job can be a full-time job in itself. Believe me – I understand!

However, it really is important to make it look like you aren’t sitting around in your underwear all day.

In fact, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) recently held a hearing looking into cases where employers were screening out jobless applicants. Some businesses even come right out and say it in their want ads, but most will simply toss your resume in the trash.

That doesn’t make much sense – especially in today’s economy when plenty of good people are looking for work. But the harsh reality is that many potential employers are short-sighted enough to assume that if you got laid off, you’re lazy and worthless.

Don’t let them think that! Find some way to be productive.

When I lost my job a couple of years ago – I’d never written a blog post in my life. As I was applying for jobs, I found some companies asking for links to my work online. I didn’t have any. So I started a somewhat-goofy personal blog. That got me noticed by a newspaper, and led to the job that got me off unemployment.

Even if you don’t consider yourself a writer – you might be surprised at how easy it is – especially if you write about what you know. Check out sites and services where you can write How-To articles and explain things from your industry. You never know who’ll find that material and what it could lead to. At the very least, you’ll establish yourself as someone who knows what they’re talking about.

If you’re just not into writing, look for other ways to stay busy. Volunteering can lead to connections, and it lets potential employers see that you’re a good citizen who contributes to society. Visit networking events and job fairs in your community too. Shake some hands and meet some people. Opportunities like that can be even more valuable than an actual job interview.

2. Get Sharp on Social Media

You wouldn’t walk into a job interview without taking a shower and making yourself look presentable. The same goes for how you present yourself online. You might need to clean things up a little bit.

It’s a smart idea to look up information on the people who interview you, as well as other power players working for potential employers. Just remember – if you can Google them, they can Google you.

Only now am I realizing that my profile photo on LinkedIn probably wasn’t helping my job search. It’s a photo of me with a cheesy smile wearing my trademark baseball cap and giving a thumbs-up. I thought it had personality and maybe a little class (since it is in black and white).

After taking a second look at the pic – I understand just how ridiculous it might appear to someone else. Others have told me that it makes me look really young. I can just imagine potential employers looking at the picture and immediately labeling me an immature rookie.

Take some time to think about the kind of image you want to project online. Get the keg party photos off of Facebook, and stop dropping f-bombs in your status updates (at least until you’re gainfully employed).

3. Make Your Resume and Cover Letter Stand Out

Buying some parchment paper for your printer is no longer the best way to make a nice-looking resume. That’s about all I did when I first found myself looking for work.

Nearly seven months into the hunt, a friend helped me jazz it up a little bit. She added some color, borders and headers. Then we saved it as a PDF file that could easily be emailed to prospects. I was kicking myself for not doing that sooner because call-backs definitely became more frequent.

Cover letters are another area where I messed up. For some reason I thought it would be a good idea to include my tragic unemployment sob story in the letter. Maybe I thought it would show off my writing skills or that they’d see me as some triumphant overcomer – but that was not the case.

When they say to keep your cover letters short and to the point – listen to them. I just had the opportunity to hire some graphic designers, and now I know it’s totally true. H.R. reps and interviewers will appreciate concise cover letters highlighting the positives of your career and education.

Save your life story for the interview.

That being said…it is wise to write unique cover letters for each job opportunity. To save some time, you may want to create a form letter with one or two short paragraphs you can adjust for different individuals and companies.

Just try to keep everything organized. I once sent the wrong employment application to someone because the file names were both Application.doc. Talk about awkward!

4. Lower Your Standards

During those first few months of unemployment, I was pretty picky about jobs for which I chose to apply. I soon found out just how tough the job market was including how competitive things were out there.

Sometimes you just need to get back in the saddle and start working again – even if you feel like the job is beneath you. I can understand that you don’t want to miss out on your dream job, but the longer you wait the harder it gets to explain that nasty gap in employment.

You should also realize that in many cases, you can still collect partial unemployment insurance benefits while you work a part-time job.

There are times when temporary gigs and part-time jobs can lead to something better. However, in this cost-cutting economy, keep in mind that some employers will do whatever they can to avoid paying benefits. For that reason – it’s always smart to keep looking for the next open door.

5. Expand Your Search

Don’t rely on just one source for job openings.

I can remember getting email alerts for job opportunities at businesses that had already rejected my application. That’s annoying. It may also be a sign that you need to stop looking at the same websites every day.

Think about places where you’d like to work. Go right to their company websites and look for openings posted there. Even if there’s nothing available, you can still make connections and send off your resume and/or portfolio to the powers that be.

Besides the normal job search engines, try checking out state employment websites, and don’t forget about Craigslist or sites specific to your industry.

One thing I’d say you should never do is pay for someone to give you job listings and opportunities. That includes job postings from many staffing agencies that only give vague descriptions of the opening. Make some calls, do a little detective work, and find out who’s hiring for yourself.

6. Expand Your Horizons

Maybe it’s time you stopped working for someone else and started your own business. Working for yourself is the true American dream, and if you ask me – it would be great there were more successful small businesses in this country.

Small businesses are the fuel that powers job creation. A study by the Kauffman Foundation (PDF) found that startups create around 3-million jobs a year in the U.S.

Now may be a great time to let your entrepreneurial spirit run wild. Just be aware of what you’re getting into. Running your own business is often time-consuming, especially at the beginning when it’s also tough to make a profit. This is not an option for the faint of heart.

However, you may also be interested in less stressful forms of self-employment. Look into things like affiliate marketing opportunities and other ways to earn passive income.

If you don’t have the ambition to be your own boss, you should still try to be open-minded about your career path. Think outside of the box about areas where your skills could be useful. You’ll stand out from the pack when employers see your resume because you have something different to offer.

Just don’t pigeonhole yourself into one type of career.

In my first couple of months on unemployment, I interviewed with a marketing agency for a job as a blogger for some of their big clients. At the time, I was really focused on being a media producer. I told them I thought “I’d be bored just writing all the time.” Needless to say – I did not get the job, and they made it clear my attitude toward was the main reason why.

I didn’t mean to have a bad attitude. My point was I thought I had even more to offer. But I learned you shouldn’t try to turn a job opportunity into something it’s not – at least not before you get hired.

7. Have Stories to Tell

We all know it’s important to prepare for those job interviews. We read up on the company history, review common interview questions and rehearse in front of the bathroom mirror. But all too often your plan goes right out the window.

The bottom line is every employer wants someone who can solve problems and overcome challenges. Think of a few different stories from your career, schooling and life in which you emerged victorious.

You’d be surprised how the same stories could be an answer to a variety of questions like “What’s your greatest weakness?” “Tell me about a time you struggled to meet a deadline” or “What kind of work environment is best for you?”

It may take some practice. But if you have five different stories to tell in the interview – you’ll be in good shape. The worst thing that can happen in a job interview is that you let the interviewee ask all the questions and do all the talking.

Keep Your Chin Up!

One of the toughest things about being unemployed in a time like this is dealing with the rejection and the stress. But guess what? “How do you deal with rejection” and “How do you handle stress” are also common interview questions!

It ain’t easy…but you can’t let yourself get depressed about your situation.

We’d love to hear your tips and suggestions for job hunters! What have you learned that helps shorten your time being unemployed?

View original article at JobMob.

What Dad Can Expect When Mom Is Expecting

Kasey Steinbrinck with Max

Last October, my wife Ashley shoved a positive pregnancy test in my face and proceeded to jump in the shower. She left me standing there holding our then 11-month old son wondering how this could have happened…again…already!

The truth is we were planning to try for kid No. 2 in about a year. I’ll spare you the details, but sometimes things happen a little earlier than planned, and you have to suck it up and smile. Realizing that there are many people who have a hard time getting pregnant – and often pay big bucks to do so – helped me to stop freaking out.

The benefit of having your first two children so close together is the fact that all the stuff you learned about pregnancy and bringing home a newborn are still pretty fresh in your mind.

You’ve probably heard of the book What to Expect When You’re Expecting, and the whole series of books that follow. They’re like bibles on babies. Obviously, it will be a little tough for me to cover everything you’ll run into during your family’s pregnancy adventure.

Every situation is unique. But my goal in writing this article is to let you know about some of the common situations we as dads must endure. I’ll include some of the basics, and answer some of the questions you might be afraid to ask.

What to Expect From “The Pregnant One”

The biggest thing that differs among pregnancies is what the woman carrying your child is going through. Not only will the pregnancy experience be different from woman to woman, it can be very different from baby to baby with the same woman.

It seems a little backwards, but for some reason that first trimester is usually the toughest for many moms. That’s when they often get morning sickness as their bodies are going through a lot of changes.

Most women say they feel pretty good during the second trimester. Then things can sometimes get ugly again towards the end of the third trimester. That’s when they start feeling uncomfortable and just can’t wait to get the baby out.

This might be tough to hear…but sometimes it will seem like your wife is going through nine months of PMS. So be prepared for an emotional roller coaster ride. Just don’t tell her you feel that way unless you want your head ripped off.

Your wife or significant other may seem like a completely different person during her pregnancy. My wife is usually a very social and slightly hyper-active overachiever. But especially during that first trimester, Ashley was constantly fatigued, unmotivated, and could even be a bit of a loner.

Remember to try to cut the mom-to-be some slack if she doesn’t have her usual energy, or isn’t as pleasant as usual. Although I have to admit that I let Ashley know when I felt like she was spending a little too much time on the couch.

I paid for that, but I needed to vent.

We’ve all heard about those notorious cravings during pregnancy. At first I thought most of those stories were old wives tales. But a lot of couples have told me about strange cravings like salted watermelon or pickles and peanut butter. During Ashley’s first pregnancy, she had a taste for stuff like macaroni & cheese and mashed potatoes. This time around it’s been Thai food – a bit more expensive.

You can expect to be the one sent out to the grocery store and to pick up take out. The good news is that you get to partake in the cravings as well.

As men, we’ll never understand exactly what the women we love go through during pregnancy and childbirth. We tend to want to solve all their problems. But that’s just not possible. What we can do is be there for support.

Expect to listen to a lot of complaints while giving backrubs as well as the occasional foot rub – and don’t expect the favor to be returned. The foot rub thing is kind of a tough one for me because I hate feet, but NY Jets Coach Rex Ryan would love it.

What to Expect In the Bedroom

This topic is number two on the rundown because I know how much you’re wondering about it.

I’m sorry, but I can’t tell you exactly what to expect as far as the future of your sex life. It’s true that some women experience an increased sex drive during parts of their pregnancy. However, that’s not a guarantee.

You should realize that your wife might be feeling very self-conscious about her body. Letting her know you still find her attractive will probably pay off later.

Here’s an interesting fact. Pregnant women often have very vivid sexual dreams. She’s probably going to want to tell you about these crazy dreams, and you never know where the conversation could lead (wink, wink).

After the pregnancy, your love life might dry up a little as well. Realize that she’s going to need at least a couple of months to let her body heal. Plus, she may still be feeling a little awkward about her physical appearance. You should let her know you’re interested, but be patient and sympathetic at the same time.

I know I sound like a couple’s therapist here – but….the most important thing you can do for your relationship is to keep the lines of communication open.

Even if you aren’t sticking to your normal love-making schedule, find a way to stay passionate with each other and spend time together. It’s going to get harder to find moments for just the two of you with a kid in the picture.

What to Expect From Your Kids

If this isn’t your first child, you’ll also have to think about how the pregnancy is affecting the kids you already have.

Make no mistake, bringing a new baby home changes everyone’s world, but it can be especially hard for the new siblings. You may have to deal with jealousy and other behavioral issues as your children adapt to the change.

In my case, our son Max will be 20 months old when his new brother or sister arrives. He probably won’t even remember life before the new baby arrived, although it will certainly have a big impact on him.

I’ve been trying to clue Max in on what’s happening. We look at pictures of his mom when she was pregnant with him. I’m sure it completely blows his one-year-old mind when I try to explain that he was once inside Mama’s tummy.

It’s good to be open with your kids about what’s going on. You may even want to use the opportunity to explain a little about the “birds and the bees” and where babies come from. Maybe you don’t want to get into all the dirty details, but it might be easier to explain things to a younger child who won’t get the giggles. They’re going to learn about it from somebody someday. So it might as well be you.

Bringing another child into your family will also have an effect on who your current children become. I recommend reading The Birth Order Book by Kevin Leman to find out more about how family dynamics can play a role in the development of your kids’ personalities.

Whatever the case, as a parent of multiple kids, your challenge will now be to make sure that each child gets the attention they need. Consider scheduling some outings with your older kids after the baby is born so you can spend some one-on-one time with them.

What to Expect Financially

Having a baby can cost you quite a bit of money. You’re going to be writing a lot of checks to pay a lot of bills. Not only are there medical bills, but you’ll also have to stock up on baby items including clothes, cribs, toys. Then there are also the diapers, wipes and formula. Eventually, child care may also figure into the additional cost of having kids.

You may even have to purchase a new vehicle to make room for car seats. I’ve got one of those 3-door Saturn Coupes. It was working out alright with one kid, but I’m going to have to figure out something different now.

If you’re feeling down about possibly becoming a mini-van owner, just keep telling yourself that they have a lot of storage space. Think of it as more of a work van instead of a grocery getter.

Don’t be ashamed to accept hand me downs and visit secondhand stores and garage sales. In most cases, baby stuff is barely used anyway.

It’s smart to sit down with your significant other and try to map out how this new baby is going to fit into your budget.

Find out if she’ll still be getting paid while she’s on maternity leave. Ask about the possibility of paternity leave for yourself. Look into your health insurance coverage to make sure you know what’s covered and what might not be. I’d suggest beefing up you savings account so that you can both afford to take some time off when the baby comes home.

What to Expect In the Delivery Room

The “big day” is another aspect of pregnancy that can be different every time. The best thing you can do as the dad is be on high alert when you get down to the last couple weeks before the due date.

Hopefully, you paid attention in those birthing classes (aka Lamaze), because you may need to act as a coach for the woman who’s about to give birth to your child. On the other hand, she may decide to throw everything she learned in those classes out the window.

Your top priority in the delivery room should be to offer encouragement. Let her know it’s going to be okay, and that she’s doing a great job. That is…unless she tells you to shut up. Many times women don’t like hearing their man’s voice when they’re pushing out an eight-pounder. I can understand that. She probably needs to focus, right?

My wife was extremely worried about pooping during the delivery. Yes it happens. Think about it. It’s like your squeezing a tube of toothpaste. It has to come out somewhere. If your wife is concerned or feels embarrassed, make sure you let her know it’s no big deal, and tell her it wasn’t that much – even if it was.

Watching someone go through labor and bring a child into the world can be exhausting. I know it’s much worse for the mother, but you’ll certainly feel some empathy. Nobody likes seeing the woman they love in pain.

When my son Max was born it was the most euphoric thing I’d ever experienced. I felt proud, relieved and extremely happy at the same time. I even got to cut his umbilical cord. As far as that goes, it was a lot more rubbery and tough than you might expect. You have to give the scissors a good squeeze to cut all the way through.

To be honest, I completely forgot about my wife after Max emerged from the womb. Ashley was getting stitched up while I was following the nurses around taking pictures as they cleaned him up and weighed him.

What to Expect When The Baby Comes Home

Your family’s world will change immediately once a newborn baby enters the picture. It will keep changing as the baby changes.

Everyone knows that you aren’t going to get a lot of sleep with a newborn that needs to eat every couple of hours. But what you’ll hate even more is constantly being asked if you’re getting enough rest, or if the baby is sleeping through the night yet. Seriously, if I had a nickel…

If your wife is trying to breastfeed, she may run into some difficulties. It’s important to let her know that it’s not her fault if breastfeeding doesn’t work out.

Diapers will quickly become a part of your everyday life. Don’t worry; you’ll be a pro in no time. The nice thing is those baby poops start out pretty mild, and get worse as their diet changes. So you’ll kind of ease your way into the real stinkers.

However, brand new babies have what I refer to as tar poops. That’s called meconium, and it’s because they are getting rid of the amniotic fluid he or she breathed while in the uterus. Your baby will only have a few of these and might be done before coming home.

Finally, I’d like to congratulate you. In my opinion, being a parent is probably the best thing you’ll ever do with your life. Enjoy every moment. I’m already realizing that kids grow up very quickly!

Thoughts and Stories for Those Expecting

If you have tips for new dads, or if you can think of something important that I missed, please leave a comment and share!

CLICK HERE to view the original article published on the website Couple Money.