It is a common fact that the more one is out of the labour market the more difficult it is to find a job. Not only because the positive energy and approach towards the market slowly decreases together with the self-steem, but also because the distance to the market increases and so does the obsolescence. So the first comment I do when I am coaching people is encourage people to perform multiple activities.
The most obvious activity one can do to go back to the labour market is of course job search. Job search is a job, to find a job is a job. Therefore one needs to organize weekly activities in terms of mailing, job search, profile revision (CV, Linkedin) and networking among other activities. This must be in between 30 hours a week and the maximum one can do respecting some free time on one or two days a week (does not have to be during the weekend).
Of course I am a challenging person and I challenge people not just to live with their job search and ask themselves for more in their lives. So there are two options to be closer to the labour market: one is volunteering and the second is already starting to work for free for friends and family or a known company (in case they cannot afford to hire you). Before the reader panics on my statement and I receive negative comments forcing people to work for free, let us discuss it. It is clear that if one is unemployed, it means that up to now we haven’t been able to access the labour market on a payment mode. Then Until we open the doors with our job search activities we might be able to access labour market by a parallel way on free work. I am a person that I consider everything has a cost and every job should be paid. But on the other side, one could quickly realize that some jobs are not yet into the market: Haven’t you ever contacted a recruiter who just knows he/she is overloaded and needs help not even thought on hiring? that means first you contact, then help them and then you get a job. Or even furthermore, have you ever considered that by making some part time work you are not only getting further experience to defend in a job interview but increasing your self-steem by been useful to the others and starting a positive job routine. I need to say that the worst I can see in a CV is an empty slot. Fill then empty slots with activities and if they are closer to your profession better.
Volunteering is another story. You might have heard that volunteering is directly increasing your personal branding. No. Don’t do it on branding. Of course everybody will carefully listen to all your volunteering stories and you would get a lot of recognition. Volunteering is believing, believing that things can be different, that there is another world possible. Believe that you can be useful: So you are indirectly doing it for your personal purposes (Volunteering of course has a selfish part, the person volunteering is the one helped, strange to explain it here though). Again, the most beautiful thing of volunteering is not anything formerly mentioned but the incredible feeling of seeing the others improve their life thanks to you. You would be amazed the results of it, how much one grows personally. And I still think that the world would be a better place if we all respected and helped each other no matter which color, races, sexuality, religion or nationality, instead of having wars and fights. Can you imagine those firemen that are sailing the greek seas for free to save lives from refugees? can you ask them what does satisfaction mean? wouldn’t you be jelous of them when you go to sleep at night? Can you imagine been unemployed but everyday but instead, at night feeling proud of yourself? (you should be always proud of yourself, but volunteering helps). Being useful and proud of oneself is crucial in unemployed people. Specially for long term ones.
Just finally as a conclusion of one of my most personal posts in all time. I strongly think that the fastest way to access again the labour market is starting your own business, the business of you, not only job search but also start to contribute to yourself and the society by been an active job seeker, by cooperate with friends and family or external companies to do what you are good at, and finally spend some of your time helping the others. It is a matter of time that you receive in return for all this contribution to the society.