Unemployed person

So You’re Unemployed. Here’s Why and What You Can Do About It

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Disclaimer: This article should help you get employed, but it’s a bit long unless you are REALLY serious about finding a job.

You can also watch the video (Arabic language)

Is it all Nepotism “Wasta”?

Let’s clear out the talk about nepotism or “Wasta” before getting into the real causes of why you might be unemployed. Blaming nepotism for your lack of opportunity is the beginning of your defeat; it’s when you have hit rock-bottom and start delegating the blame to external factors. To be fair, it is a real situation, but it’s not only in your country.

It’s called “blat” in Russia, “guanxi” in China, “socialismo” in Cuba, and many names around the globe.

Wasta exists but it’s NOT the reason for your unemployment; professional organizations that adopt best practices in human resources operation do not engage in nepotism, and these are the ones you should be going after.

Back to the blame game, the first step you need to take is holding yourself 100% responsible for anything that affects your life. Think about it this way, an external factor is something you cannot control, so focus on what you can change; YOURSELF. Jack Canfield puts this philosophy in simple terms in his book “The Success Principles”.

Here’s the simple equation:
Event + Response = Outcome (E+R=O)

  • The event is the external factor you cannot control
  • The response is your reaction towards that event (controllable)
  • The outcome is the result of what you DID or DID NOT DO about the situation.

Let’s put this equation into the context of job hunting.

The Event would be an open job vacancy, and the response is your readiness to apply in a professional way. The outcome, which dictates who gets hired, depends on who responded in the best way. After all, it’s a fierce competition out there. Right?

Adopt the mindset of holding yourself responsible, and read through for the real reasons for your unemployment.

The Real Reasons

1. Recruiters Judge the Unemployed

Recruiters tend to question your energy and skills the longer you are unemployed; particularly more than six months. Curiosity is a natural part of the human mentality, and they might be judging you consciously or unconsciously.

What to do about it:

  • Develop your online personal brand; make sure you have a professional Linkedin profile and ACTIVELY engage in group conversations that discuss topics relevant to your field. This will expose your profile to other professionals in the field and show your skills and knowledge in an informal setting. You already spend hours scrolling through your Instagram and Facebook feeds; spare an hour a day for going through Linkedin groups and engage in the conversation. An opportunity might just be around the corner.
  • Stay active. This is extremely important to help you overcome the state of mental defeat.
    • Volunteer with non-profits working in your field or a cause you feel passionate about. If you’re a designer, help with posters. Do you love animals? Offer your time at the local animal shelter. If you’re a funny person, the kids at the hospital or orphanage will really appreciate your show.
    • Freelance. Giant organizations and SME’s are both looking for freelancers because they value fresh perspective and flexibility. Sign up for Fiverr, Upwork, Feedeed or Antwork to check the offers, and check specialized Facebook groups related to your industry.
    • Learn something new. I know you had three tough years, but education is a journey and not a destination. I graduated with a marketing degree seven years ago. What would have happened if I didn’t invest in social media and digital marketing courses? Answer: obsolete certificate. Read some books to develop new skills and knowledge.

2. You Are Not Prepared

Recruiters are selective when it comes to choosing candidates; this is due to the fact that job vacancies are limited while the number of candidates is too high. Competition is fierce, and you should be ready to present the best possible version of yourself.

If you’re the type that goes around spraying job CV’s, you’re doing it wrong. Some companies that use application tracking software will blacklist your profile because of a history of inappropriate applications so you might miss an opportunity that could have been right for you.

What to do about it:

  • Before you apply for a job vacancy, read and answer these 4 questions.
  • Customize your CV for every vacancy. I have seen people sending the same CV to extremely different vacancies, and that is pure laziness. Your CV is your gateway to the interview, so edit it to showcase your advantage against the competition.
  • Mind your netiquette. netiquette is short for internet etiquette. Keep your online posts and interactions professional at all times. Some recruiters will skim through your profile to get an idea about your character.
  • Prepare for the interview. research the company thoroughly. Check their products and services, awards they have earned, social media channels, and performance. This proves that you’re a proactive person and that you’re already familiar with their internal processes.
  • Don’t lie on your CV. Being a fresh graduate is not something to be ashamed of, but adding that extra-one-year experience at your friend’s store is unethical and will definitely be tracked down the road. Instead, refer to the options in the first point. Freelance and volunteer to fill that CV.

3. You Are Not Networking

Two things happen when you’re unemployed for too long; you’re either too embarrassed that you’re friends are all employed, so you stop hanging out with them, or you have convinced yourself that there’s nothing you can do about it, and that’s even worse. You learn to live your life like there’s nothing wrong – state of denial.

Networking is very important, especially if you believe in the unholy power of nepotism. Think about it; those who got opportunities “they didn’t deserve” had someone backing them up.

What to do about it:

  • Network. Go to conferences, workshops, events where you can meet people in your field. Check websites like Eventbrite and Ihjoz, and Lebtivity. You’ll always find opportunities.
  • Step away from your phone and computer (after you finish reading this article) and invite a friend you haven’t seen for a while for a cup of tea.
  • Contact your former boss or colleague if you’re on good terms.
  • Reach out to friends who work at companies that fit your criteria. They usually have connections.

4. Try Entrepreneurship

Maybe the 9-5 life isn’t for you, and you want to work independently.

Well, you have to understand something very important. Entrepreneurs have their brains wired in a different way than job seekers. Think you got what it takes? Here’s a quick read e-book that I prepared for you. it will introduce you to the basic three principles you should live by in order to survive the journey. Download the book here or click the photo.

3 principles to Become a Successful Entrepreneur

Take Action! Make a system for yourself following the above points and I guarantee you will have extremely higher chances of landing a job and succeeding in life.

Do you agree with my points? If you have additional thoughts, I would love to answer them in the comments below.

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