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The Job Hunt: Start with a Plan

by ​Carolyn Leighton-Hilborn

Looking for a new job is overwhelming. You are not alone in that feeling, it is a normal response. Often unemployment comes as a surprise, especially if it was a layoff as economic conditions shifted. Many people will feel disbelief, resentment and anger, as well as grief after a job loss. These feelings may last a short time or for extended periods. It is important to be aware of what stage you are in when looking for new work. Many will experience several “false starts” with the job hunt before they are 100% ready to take on this challenging task. It is also important to be aware that each person experiences unemployment in a different way. If your co-worker who got laid off at the same time seems happier and more confident than you, don’t stress. People have different personal demands and therefore where one person may need a job immediately to keep a roof over their heads the next may have different needs. So take a deep breath, what you are going through is normal, and there is help out there.

One of the greatest resources available to people just starting the job hunt is access to employment counselling. An employment counsellor will be able to hear your concerns, needs, and look at things objectively with you. Together you can figure out the next best steps, and the employment counsellor can provide support along the way. We traditionally turn to family and friends during tough times, however sometimes that increases stress for both. They are not always able to look at your situation and hear you out with objectivity. This can further exacerbate anxiety and stress levels during a period of unemployment. An employment specialist is equipped with information and resources to support your individual needs, and provide an objective perspective.

The key to a successful job hunt is to have a plan; something overlooked by many people. Often people are focused on meeting their immediate needs – finding a source of income. But what happens when your immediate needs impact your future goals and requirements? A plan will make sure you can consider both short and long-term objectives. If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail – or so the old adage goes. Make sure you are setting yourself up for success, and not for a period of transitioning between several different jobs. Planning will bring stability to an unstable situation.

An employment counsellor meets with job seekers and discusses their work history, educational background and any concerns or challenges they may be facing. An action plan will be introduced to assist the person with meeting various goals, one step at a time. By having such a plan written out, the job seeker and counsellor can prioritize what needs to be done; track what has been accomplished and new needs that come up can be added to the plan. Consider it a checklist or “to do” list. Tasks will be assigned to the job seeker, while others may be assigned to the employment specialist. A great benefit to approaching your employment search with a counsellor is it’s a team effort. You can expect a friendly, objective and professional approach to your employment search.

Other resources an employment counsellor may be able to address with a job seeker in the early stages of the job hunt include:

• Career assessments and a one-to-one review and explanation of the results

• Conversation with the counsellor to re-evaluate your goals and long term expectations from employment

• Workshops to teach you new skills, including resume development, cover letter writing, technical skills on computers, career exploration and other specialized opportunities

• Introduction to online job seeking resources; job boards, social media tools, email and internet training

• Possible referrals to child care subsidy and additional monetary support

• Possible re-training opportunities

Regardless of your background, when you access employment counselling services you can be certain you will receive a personal and customized approach to your individual needs. At Lutherwood we have the knowledge and tools to assist with your job hunt. You will gain the confidence and ability to find your next great job. Need a job? We can help.