So it's Labor Day and you aren't celebrating because you are among the millions of midlifers still out of work. Being told you aren't alone doesn't help much, does it? Since resolutions don't have to be limited to the new year, we offer these to help jump-start your job search:
1) Resolve to get the retraining or skills you need to compete in today's market.
Whether it's learning the new technologies associated with your industry or switching industries altogether, why wait another day to get the skills you need? There is no point in looking for jobs that no longer exist.
Community colleges have become the go-to place to update your skills. The courses are generally inexpensive and many qualify for a tax credit that could help offset their expense. The Lifetime Learning Credit provides a tax credit of 20% of tuition expenses, with a maximum of $2,000 in tax credits on the first $10,000 of tuition expenses. This is something that the still-employed should consider as well, because changes in the jobs landscape put many of them at risk too.
2) Resolve to move past your anger.
Sure you got screwed by your former employer, but nobody -- nobody -- hires people who spew venom or bad-mouth their former companies. Speaking ill of your former employer is among the top worst things you can do, say hiring personnel.
Besides, it's just plain unhealthy to hang on to deep anger. The best thing you can do for yourself is move on emotionally. Keep your eyes forward and stop rehashing in your head how much you gave to the company that kicked you to the curb. Just let it go. And there are community job loss support groups to help you. Here's something you can take to the bank: You won't find a job as long as you are still stewing over losing your old one. People who see themselves as victims don't get job offers.
3) Resolve to do more networking.
There is a lot of truth to this: People get jobs because of who they know. We have friends who have been sending their resumes in to the black hole for online job ads for years now and have never gotten as much as a single interview. The reason is simple: They don't follow up and call someone who works there. Connect on LinkedIn, Facebook, dust off your rolodex -- but follow up with a non-virtual connection. You won't find a job sitting at Starbuck's every day with your laptop. It requires that you get up and go out to events and meet new people. Now of course you don't know someone at every single company. But a large enough LinkedIn base, there's a good chance you know someone who knows someone. It can't hurt to ask.
4) Resolve to freshen up your look.
Being unemployed and spending money on yourself are incongruous acts, we know. Still, if you've been out of work for more than a year, it's time to make sure you are still looking the part. A haircut not only will make you look sharp, it will give you some much-need self-confidence.
5) Resolve to consider a seasonal job.
This is the time of year that retailers and businesses hire extra help for the holidays. Last year, Amazon alone hired 50,000 seasonal workers at its approximate 40 sites across the country. "Thousands of temporary associates will stay on in full-time positions," predicted an Amazon spokesman last year.
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