Whether you are mid-career or are a recent graduate with no desire to enter the field you majored in, arriving at a crossroads in your career is a common experience. Maybe you want to quit a job that’s no longer a good fit for you or you’ve been laid off – there are skillful steps you can take to stay sharp while you’re between jobs. Pepelwerk offers expert advice for job seekers when it’s taking a while a find work.

Pepelwerk’s expert advice for job seekers in need of new opportunities

When you find yourself in these circumstances you ask yourself, “why can’t I find a job,” it can feel really frustrating, and even demoralizing. We’ve put together some top tips and expert advice to make sure you stay sharp while you are in the midst of a difficult job search.

Don’t let the bad days win: stay present/stay sober

Woah, right out of the gate? Yes. It doesn’t matter if you got laid off after being in a job for 25 years or you just graduated and feel frustrated by your lack of progress. Turning to self-medication as a coping mechanism is harmful for several reasons:

It dulls your fire/passion/curiosity

We all have our favorite numbing or self-medication devices. For some, it might be social media, news, or binge-watching Netflix. Some might find a hole to hide in drugs and alcohol. Some find temporary relief in sex, food, or shopping. Whatever it is, swear off. Why? You WANT to let yourself get bored. You want to let yourself get itchy. That is the ground of creativity. That is the ground where the seeds of your genuine interest get planted.

This is solid advice for job seekers. When your subconscious mind gets really bored, it has the space to come up with some really cool ideas if we don’t snuff it out by zoning out. That’s why so many CEOs swear by meditation. The stillness of an under-stimulated mind is where the best stuff is born.

Find out what happens when you sit with your boredom without flipping on YouTube. It won’t kill you. Promise.

Advice for job seekers struggling to find work or suitable jobs

Numbing out wastes money you may not have

Don’t waste your resources. In addition, if you are unemployed or underemployed, every dollar that crosses your path needs a job. Now is an excellent time to devote your energy to getting your bills, debts, and income organized and under control. Get serious about your budgeting. Money likes structure, so build one. If you can’t manage $100, you can’t manage $10,000.

Self-medication makes you a weaker job candidate/interviewee

If you feel tired, you will make mistakes. If you’ve been up all night for whatever reason, you will look and feel sluggish and won’t be at your best when you get called in to speak with a hiring manager. Would you hire a job candidate that looks sleep-deprived and disheveled from staying up all night playing video games? Of course not. Maintain a good sleep schedule by staying sober and getting some sunshine and exercise every day.

Tuning out turns off your problem-solving brain

If you’re always trying to make yourself forget your problems, you’re also turning off your problem-solving skills. There is no way to address your problems in a mature way if you neuter your ability to think clearly. You feel me on that, right? Your brain does not have a selector switch. If it’s off, it’s off.

Advice for job seekers doesn’t have to be all about skills and interview techniques. Sometimes it just needs someone to tell you to look after your self, mentally and physically.

Know that you are not alone

This “Rugged Individual” caricature is killing Americans. That’s not a figure of speech. Our isolation has heightened risk factors similar to obesity and smoking. If you can’t find a group of like-minded people, create one. For example, if you have an off-the-wall interest but haven’t had time to work on it, get after it! There is someone out there that wants to teach you, learn from you, or help you. Ask for help when you need it. Offer help to others when you can.

Keeping your mindset positive by interacting with people and activities you enjoy will help keep your spirits high until you get the right job offer. Imagine the difference it will make in your interviews if you walk into them having spent that off time helping others or pursuing your own interests instead of stewing in frustration.

Again, our advice for job seekers is about more than just using your qualifications and job experience, as you need to get your mindset in a healthy place to get yourself on the right career path.

Seek out like-minded individuals

Networking cannot be stressed enough. Research estimates that over 80% of job offers are made within personal connections. It is imperative that you find a way to interact with others on a consistent basis. You can volunteer at a local charity that needs help, join a couple of MeetUp groups in your city, or offer to teach classes to underprivileged kids. Remember this: you have to be consistent to be convincing. Think of your network as a place to grow and learn new skills with the potential of meeting your next boss. If the people in your network see that you show up consistently, they’ll be more likely to trust you with their own business problems.

Embracing networking opportunities - advice for job seekers

Be open to a move

Our next piece of advice for job seekers struggling to find work is one that might divide people. There is an old cliche that goes something like, “you can never go home again.” Well, if your local community has a dead job market, never leaving home is a dead-end for your career prospects. If you’ve been stuck looking for work in the same area for months or years, and you’re wondering why you can’t find a job, it’s time to cut your losses and start looking for work elsewhere.

Easier said than done, right? Well, what’s really difficult is living in the frustration of a community whose job market has dried up when we are at record low unemployment. Your opportunities are vast if you’re willing to look outside of your comfort zone. Research is at your fingertips. Find areas in the country that are hot for hiring and move there. You don’t not owe your hometown or your family your misery of frustrated joblessness.

Be willing to tack

If you find yourself in a saturated market or one in which your skills will be replaced by automation, don’t waste time resisting change. You’ve got to specialize. The more general your skillset, the easier it is to replace you (and the less money you make overall). It is your responsibility to make sure your skills can support you and create a livelihood for you. This is the one piece of advice for job seekers that will be heard more and more in the coming years.

Swallow that bitter pill and take radical responsibility for everything that affects your earning potential. Being angry because you got laid off or can’t find a job in a field you got your degree in is a waste of time and gives away all your power.

Advice for job seekers: don't resist change, evolve

Leverage your skills, not just your experience

Think about your skills as transferrable assets. Figure out what your skills are, not just how a single industry takes advantage of them. What soft skills do you have (like communication, public speaking, or problem-solving) that are applicable in other industries? Think about the companies that are direct competitors or even on the opposing side of the field that can use your talents as a competitive advantage. Sell your skills, not just your experience.

How pepelwerk can help

We hope you found our advice for job seekers useful. At pepelwerk, we’ve hired for a wide spectrum of industries over a long period of time. And we know what we’re talking about. After 25 years of frustration with the slow, clunky job boards, we had enough and built something better.

Our platform works more like a dating app than a traditional job board. Your account profile showcases your skills and interests so we can match you with the right Employer. No searching, just matching.

If you want to find out more about pēpəlwərk, a skills-based job matching platform, download the app here. Our whole goal is to match job seekers (Talent) to Employers, based on these skills they need to get the job done.

Download the pēpelwerk app to change how you connect to work