While the jobless rate in the U.S. has fallen in recent years, the improvement hasn’t been felt by our fellow Americans who continue to search for work after months and months of trying.

Unemployment can be just as devastating to the soul as it is to the wallet. It is important for individuals who find themselves in this situation to develop a ‘mind, body and soul’ approach to getting back on their feet and rejoining the ranks of the gainfully employed. Use these tips for re-entering the workforce successfully.

Activating networks

Reaching out to a support network can help alleviate or stave off the unfortunate mental and physical symptoms that can come with unemployment, but networks can also be used to identify job leads too. More than just a group of immediate friends and family, networks might include fellow alumni, a place of worship, a parents group or a group of people who share the same hobby. Idle chit-chat on the sidelines of a youth soccer game could turn into a lead, but only if that conversation is struck up in the first place.

Building skills

Instead of seeing unemployment as a crisis, job seekers should try to embrace it as an opportunity to build their skills. Taking educational courses, earning certifications or taking on projects not only adds to a resume, it also represents initiative to prospective employers.

In addition to building professional skills, job seekers can also work on their personal skills. Learning another language, how to play an instrument or basic car repair is emotionally rewarding and keeps the brain sharp.

Volunteering time and talents

Individuals who have been unemployed do have an abundance of one very valuable asset: time. Donating some of this time strengthens and grows ties within the local community. Volunteering can be an opportunity to show off skills, such as project management or home repair. It can also be an opportunity to learn some new skills or gain experience.

Ideally, volunteering can lead to job lead or even being hired on full-time by a nonprofit. At the very least, volunteering can be rewarding for the mind, body and soul.

Seeking counseling or therapy

Even if the previous job loss wasn’t their fault, a bout of unemployment can make a person feel despondent and even lead to full-blown depression.

Individuals coping with unemployment woes should be mindful of the symptoms of depression creeping in, such as a drop-off in social activity. Even people without any outward symptoms should get into the habit of reaching out to their support network and venting frustrations. People who do notice depression setting in should seek out a professional counselor and possibly look into getting anti-depression medication.

At Cornerstone, we regularly assist individuals who have been out of work for periods of time. If you are currently in this situation, simply drop us a line and we can get to work on getting you back to work! And if you are concerned that you’ve been out of work for too long to easily get back into the workforce, read our blog: How to Get Back on the Work Horse During Long-Term Unemployment.

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