Almost 45 percent of job seekers have been unemployed for more than 27 weeks. If you have been out of work a while, this is sort of a good news/bad news thing. Good news, you are normal -- it is taking lots of people a long time to land a job. Bad news, 27 weeks is a long time.
As time marches on, it's hard to keep a positive attitude, but you must continue to look forward, keep focused, and remain optimistic. Here are a few quick tips on how to keep on track with a positive attitude:
1. Look forward, not backward -- what is done is done. Speaking from experience, losing a job is devastating. I do not need to tell you it is like a break-up of a relationship or even a death, but wallowing in misery will not change the fact that your future is changing and you must move on.
2. Set specific goals -- Set realistic and measurable goals to help stay on track. An example would be committing yourself to send out five resumes or applications a week. Cultivate your network by reaching out to five people who are not part of your current network, and maybe, finally, scrub out your refrigerator!
3. Learn new skills -- volunteering or taking a class can be very rewarding. You will learn new skills which will increase your marketability, fill a gap on your resume and be doing something nice for someone (or something) in return!
4. Evaluate your job search strategy -- if your current job search methods are not reaping any results, it is time to try something new. Attend the Re-Employment workshops at the Winchester Workforce Center for the best methods to market yourself and find opportunities.
4. Do something fun! Do not spend every hour of every day of every week trolling job boards. All this will do is sink you further into despair. I know that for most folks, being out of work leaves a crater-size hole in your wallet and can limit activities, but find something rewarding and positive to engage in. On a personal note, while I was out of work, the highlight of my week was going to the library and checking out (for FREE!) the latest DVDs and magazines. Not as exciting as Kings Dominion, but sometimes we just have to lower the level on our "fun-meter"!
Finally, if you are a veteran in the unemployed department, take solace in knowing you are not alone. Your patience, tenacity and positive attitude will pay off in the end.