Do You Have the 5 Symptoms of “Chronic Unemployment Syndrome”?

Far too many of our friends, colleagues and family members have been out of work for some time.

For some this is a short-term disability. For others, the affliction seems chronic. Those looking from an outside point-of-view might mistake the symptoms as “terminal”.

Is this happening to you? Is your job search on life support?

Here are the top five symptoms of Chronic Unemployment Syndrome – and sure signs that your job search is about to flat-line:

1. You Regard Your Job Search as “Part-time Work”

Especially for those whose job search has gone well past the 40-week average (our new reality) finding work is a full-time endeavor. You’ll need to commit 40 hours per week to the process. Set your priorities accordingly.

You have the free time, right? What else is more important?

2. You Consider Big Job Boards a “Job Search”

“I’ve applied for hundreds of jobs online – and not one response.”

Long gone are the days when you opened the newspaper (Boomers), or went to Monster (Gen X) or Craigslist (everyone with an internet connection), applied for a job – and magic happened as you were flooded with emails from interested employers.

I was introduced to the 70-20-10 rule by @annemessenger on Twitter. Simply put, the rule states that 70% of your job search time should be spent on networking and research, 20% on online job search (including the job boards) and 10% talking to recruiters.

If 90% of your job-seeking time is spent sifting through help wanted ads – and hitting the ‘Apply Now’ button over and over – you will fail.

3. You Aren’t Diligently Networking – Online and Offline

“It’s not what you know – it’s who you know” is especially relevant regarding your career. Social media has made this cliché more relevant than ever – and easier for you to “know” more “whos” (and, with employee referrals on the rise, getting more “whos” to know you).

If you haven’t fully-completed a LinkedIn profile and aren’t using a Twitter and Facebook account to search for work – you’re  already severely behind most of your job search competition. Announce to the world – through your profiles, tweets and posts – that you are currently looking for work, in what field you specialize, and where you want to work or are willing to relocate.

Now, include offline (face-to-face) networking – Chambers of Commerce, job clubs, Meetups, Tweetups, industry and alumni associations, and more. Get out there, meet new people and confidently state your career goals.

I know… you’re an introvert, a little too shy; networking just isn’t inside your “comfort zone.” How about being unemployed for a year or two? Is that inside your comfort zone?

4. You Accept Holes in Your Resume

With so many opportunities available to volunteer in a community cause, intern within your industry, or start your own business – there isn’t really an acceptable excuse for that hole in your resume. Get involved, get back in the industry, do some freelance work – and those holes will disappear.

For more insight on fixing the holes in your resume, see YouTern’s “No Excuse for No Experience.”

5. You Don’t Ask for Help

There are many professionals out there who know A LOT more about the job search process than you.

Ask for their help!

Everywhere you look, experts can be found – in most cases these resources are free! Consider these options:

  • Higher Education Career Services: Not just for students, the career services department at your alma mater will gladly assist you in your job search; this is what they do!
  • State Employment Office: Despite it’s old-school reputation, your local employment development department can provide basic services such as resume assistance and training… and they know your local market quite well
  • Twitter Chats: Take advantage of the career-oriented chats on Twitter like #jobhuntchat, #internpro and #OMCChat (a full list of available chats can be found here)
  • Mentors: You’ve devoted the time to networking? Good! Now take it a step further and find a mentor – perhaps a professor, a former manager, or a passionate entrepreneur who is aware of your skills and abilities
  • Recruiters: There are a ton of recruiters out there – experts in their craft, these pros are wholly underutilized by 99% of those searching for work (@levyrecruits is a great place to start)

Any one symptom of “Chronic Unemployment Syndrome” can cripple a healthy job search. If you’re distressed by two or three, emotional paralysis and depression is not uncommon. If you suffer from four or more symptoms… your job search is probably on life support.

However, with the economy stabilizing, and with a little hard work… you can change this.

Focus on curing one of the above symptoms each day, for five days. A week from now, you’ll be back on your feet – and you’ll have injected new life into your job search!





Mark_AuthorAbout the Author: CEO and Founder of YouTern, Mark Babbitt is a serial mentor who has been quoted in the Wall Street Journal, Mashable, Forbes and regarding job search, career development, internships and higher education’s role in preparing emerging talent for the workforce. A keynote speaker and blogger, Mark’s contributions include Huffington Post, Switch and Shift, The Daily Muse and Under30CEO.

Mark has been honored to be named to GenJuice’s list of “Top 100 Most Desirable Mentors” and was recently featured on HR Examiner’s “Top 25 Trendspotters in HR” and several top blogger lists, including JobMob’s “Top Career Bloggers of 2012”. Contact Mark via email or on Twitter!



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