Millions of Americans greeted the New Year with exhaustion and relief as Congress negotiated a last-minute deal to avoid the fiscal cliff — and avoid the prospect of a deeper economic recession. As a country, we’d just survived weeks of negotiation and a psychological cliffhanger.
StartWire is non-partisan, but we have a firm belief in the rights of job seekers. We believe that — as a job applicant — you should be treated with the same respect an organization shows its customers. We believe employers should let you know where you stand in an applicant pool — regardless of whether or not they want to hire you. We’re on a mission to help you organize your job search so that you can find an optimal position in a minimal amount of time.
While we focus on the process of making your job search process easier, we also care about your economic well being. After all, it’s harder to feel psychologically healthy and prepared for interviews if you are not sure you can pay your bills and keep the lights on.
One of the easiest ways to ensure your own fiscal security, safety, and happiness is to focus on what you can control and take responsibility for your own career. Here are ways to do this — even if you want to change industries or switch to a new job:
- Explore your interests, but know where you stand in terms of supply and demand. Have any friends who’ve just enrolled in an expensive training program — but haven’t seen any jobs even posted after finishing? Before you set your heart on a new role, get a sense of supply and demand for the field. How many employers need people to perform your desired job? Use MyNextMove.org to see skills and training needed to perform a role, projected salaries and employment availability, and local resources.
- Take charge of your own education. Does not knowing a software application — or completing a training program — stand between you and your next job? Don’t be afraid to teach yourself new skills. Need to learn how to do an e-mail merge in Microsoft Outlook? Search YouTube for training videos. (We found over 300 on this topic alone!) Inspired by the way Will Hunting teaches himself math in Good Will Hunting? You too can take a class at MIT; they offer over 1,800 classes you can study yourself through their Open Courseware program.
- Diversify! Unemployed? Need to supplement your current income? Consider doing odd jobs, freelance work, and/ or temp jobs. While less reliable than permanent employment, these types of assignments can provide you with additional income — and give you the chance to try a new line of work without committing to 40+ hours a week immediately. If you’ve never tried this before, chances are good that you have a friend who has. The number of U.S. workers working on projects — often referred to as 1099s — has rapidly increased in recent years.
These are just three of the ways you can help yourself maintain financial stability; do you have any others? Share.