job1Countries all across the modern west claim that unemployment is falling with every passing month. Each year, they hit new lows in the number of people unable to find work.

But it’s still a problem.

The ‘record low’ hit in the UK at the end of last year left nearly two million people without income. And that doesn’t only mean the ones who had a good income. It just meant they weren’t working at all.

Most people now need multiple jobs to make enough to live by, especially those living in big cities. Especially those who are young. Especially those who have families to provide for.

Likely, more than two million people in the UK alone are looking for work at any given point.

And it is difficult. Especially in this economy, with this government. You’re expected to have years of experience before you’re eligible for work that is even close to well-paying. You’re expected to have a 2.1 level degree, or higher. You’re competing with people who have more experience, more relevant training, extra qualifications that you don’t have the time or money to take and all the boss’s mate’s kids who need work too.

It can seem like you stand less than no chance if you expect to get something any time soon.

And you wish it would get just a little bit easier.

KNOW WHAT YOU WANT TO DO

Don’t go into this blind. It’s great to throw yourself fully into a task, but if you go in head first with no idea where you’re going, you’ll waste a lot of time and energy going nowhere. Think about the kind of job you would like to do. Think about what you could do day after day and feel fulfilled by the work you are doing. That doesn’t mean that you have to do something that other people tell you is meaningful. Do what makes you happy. If you would feel useful and satisfied collecting hospital waste, then do it. Just because it’s gross, or not popular, or won’t make you famous doesn’t mean it’s not valuable.

KNOW WHAT YOU CAN DO

What are you qualified for? There’s no point applying to be a neurosurgeon if you don’t know anything about brains. There’s no point applying to be a gardener if you don’t know anything about plants. Think about the skills that you actually have that can be applied to a workplace. No matter how much you desperately want something, it won’t happen unless someone else thinks you would be good at it, too. Don’t throw time away applying for jobs that you’re obviously not suited for.

PLAY UP YOUR BASIC SKILLS

You’d be surprised how valuable they are. If you can type quickly and use standard Microsoft Office programmes, that makes you more attractive to potential employers. If you’ve ever worked with money – even at the lowest level of retail – that’s important, too. Showing that you can be trusted with numbers and computers is a huge boon that a lot of people don’t remember to show off.

LOWER YOUR STANDARDS

Just for a little while. If you’re really in need of money, it’s not beneath you to get something temporary. You can keep applying to those jobs that you crave in the meantime, but you need money to live. It would be nice if people didn’t have to resort to zero-hour contracts and multiple part time jobs to pay bills. But sadly that is the world that we live in. If you have to do something mundane to keep up with your financial responsibilities, then do it. An opportunity you like less than another is still an opportunity.

ASK FOR HELP

Ask everyone, just in case you get lucky. Ask people you know who are in managerial positions, ask anyone who might know people looking for workers. Ask people who can proofread your CV or know of an affordable First Aid training course or who may have seen a ‘Staff Wanted’ sign up in a window somewhere. Ask for anything people might have or know of that could help you. No one will think any less of you for attempting every option. Good things come to those who ask for them.

Kirstie Summers, 

Daily Zen.

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