At Decipher Group, we’ve been working in the talent acquisition and recruitment space for over 16 years. We’ve lost count of the number of amazing, talented people that we’ve helped place in exciting new roles, but it’s literally in the 1000s.

Our number one piece of advice for anyone who unexpectedly finds themselves unemployed is…don’t panic. When you are in the precarious position of sudden job search, panic is your enemy.

Maintaining your confidence

Regardless of the length of time you have been looking for a new role or your current employment status, maintaining confidence and certainty about what you are looking for and importantly, what you can contribute to an organisation, is key.

Losing your job or the prospect of pending unemployment will definitely challenge your self-esteem and can result in a great deal of emotional strain and pressure. But remember that job search is essentially you “selling” your value to an organisation. Prospective employers and hiring managers will pick up on signs of desperation, which could be a red flag in terms of your commitment and motivation.

Maintaining a positive outlook will also enable you to persevere and continue your search, despite any setbacks you may face.

Before you even commence your search, take a moment to reflect on the following. It just might help put you in the right mindset.

1. Re-evaluate your next step

The best mantra for job seekers is ‘you will find another job’.

If you have been employed, and done so successfully, there’s no reason to think that you can’t do it again. In fact, this might just be an opportunity to rethink what that next role could look like. In the everyday hustle of working life, we often don’t get a chance to, or prioritise, self-reflection.

  • What are your core skills, strengths, and areas of expertise?
  • How can your past experiences be reframed to fit new roles or industries?
  • What do you enjoy doing and what kind of work excites you?
  • What are your personal values and long-term career goals?
  • What are your non-negotiables when it comes to a role/organisation?

This could include a major rethink of your career path and what’s important to you, or simply a change in field. It might even mean a step forward or backward in salary/seniority.

Find out more: Embrace change and take control of your career

2. It takes time

The first question most job seekers ask is how long it will take to find a new role.

This can vary widely based on several factors but what we do know for certain is that it will likely take 2 to 3 times longer than what you expect or, plan for. Still looking for some guidance? We’d suggest 3 to 6 months.

And there will be setbacks. Perhaps you’ll find your “ideal” role or progress quite far along a recruitment process, confident of a positive outcome, only to face rejection. It’s hard not to take it personally. Remember however, there is zero correlation between your value or worth and the time it takes to find the “right” role.

  • As part of your self-reflection, make a list of all of your career successes and achievements – continually refer to and add to that list.
  • Trust in the process, there will be setbacks but stay focused.
  • Keep yourself informed about the labour market and economic conditions but don’t let it be the driver in your decision making – remember you only need one job.

3. Use your time…wisely

Your absolute focus as a job seeker will be looking for a new job. In fact, job search is a job in itself.

You’ll likely be receiving *constructive* advice from those around you, possibly encouraging you to harness your time ‘unemployed’, productively and creatively – grow, develop, upskill, reassess your passions etc.

However similar to our collective experience during lockdown, your time spent unemployed is not the time to learn a new language, or [insert new skill, hobby here].

Your ‘job’ is finding a job. Unless it’s directly related or something that will contribute to your success, don’t add it to your list of things to do. Yes, it will take time and focus but also don’t fall into the trap of replacing your 8-hour workday with job search alone – you’ll likely discover this is an unproductive use of your time.

Remember to be kind to yourself and those around you. You could be in for a long ride.

4. Understand rejection

Rejection can feel very personal. Particularly if your confidence has already taken a hit based on your current position. Active job search can be a roller coaster – you will be receiving a lot of feedback and sometimes there may appear to be a misalignment with what people say and do.

It might be hard to maintain your composure and positivity but when you are rejected for a role, it simply means that they found a candidate who was (in their view) a better “fit”. And depending on how far progressed you were in the recruitment process, there is a chance that another candidate took the lead for reasons that may seem minor or which you don’t agree with.

  • Ask for feedback, it can make a real difference to your future job prospects.
  • If that feedback includes actionable advice, then do something about it and create a development plan.
  • Demonstrate commitment to the job opportunity but don’t get swept up in the enthusiasm of others. The outcome may be unexpected and lead to disappointment.
  • If you face rejection, pause, and then channel all of that energy you demonstrated during the recruitment process to start looking for that next opportunity.

Realistically, you are likely to face a role rejection multiple times throughout your career. Spend less time on assigning “blame”. Remove all that negativity and focus on what did go right – the fact your application was considered, you interviewed well, you made new connections, you put yourself out there. Try to think about all the positives, this is what will help you succeed next time around.

Final Thoughts

Finding yourself unemployed is not the end of the world. Modern career trends show that individuals are more likely to change jobs multiple times throughout their careers compared to previous generations. Remember that your next job opportunity might not be your ‘forever’ role.

Take a thoughtful approach to job search. Demonstrate self-care. Be fully present in what you are doing and find a role that aligns with your skills, interests, and career goals. It might not feel like it at the time, but you will be successful.

Need Help?

Decipher Group are industry experts in the recruitment of executive, management level professionals, and governance leaders for New Zealand and Australian businesses. We’ve been connecting talented people to exciting opportunities for 16 years.

Find out more about our recruitment expertise.

The Decipher Team

To stay on top of current recruitment trends and hear about new role vacancies, follow Decipher Group on LinkedIn.

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