Breaking out of the unemployment rut

Being unemployed sucks! Those three words will resonate with anybody who has found them jobless, for whatever reason. Yes, there are the benefits of being unemployed – including actual benefits (Universal Credit), as well as those extra long mornings in bed (unless you have to traipse to the Job Centre) – but eventually, unemployment will take its toll. As well facing money struggles, your self-esteem can plummet due to the lack of focus and motivation in your life.

We say it again…unemployment sucks! But if you have found yourself in a rut, both career-wise and in terms of your mental health, we have some tips to get you out of your situation.

Focussing on your self-esteem

When out of work, you need to nurture your mental health. It can take a beating as we have already said, with the stress of not having enough money to live on, and those long days with nothing to do. Your Netflix watchlist (if you can afford such a luxury) will run out eventually. To lift your spirits, you should:

  • Speak to your doctor if you find yourself mentally struggling, and perhaps consider counselling to help you form a more positive self-image
  • Get out of the house. Sitting at home won’t help you, staring blankly at the four walls as they surround you. Take a walk – exercise is good for your mental state – and visit friends or family for some social interaction.
  • Find voluntary work. While you won’t get paid, you will have something to focus on, and it will improve your employability when you’re applying for jobs. You might also find something rewarding; that sense of personal satisfaction that is sometimes more important than money.

Focussing on finding a job

It’s in the rarest of cases that a job will fall in your lap, so you do need to be proactive in your job search. Admittedly, this can be difficult if you have fallen into a rut, with a sense of hopelessness setting in. Still, you can improve your chances by doing some of the following.

  • Sign up to a job consultancy firm and send them your c.v. Whether it’s a general agency such as Reed, or a specialist firm who focuses on specific career paths, such as payroll recruitment consultants, they will put in some of the hard work for you by matching you to specific job roles.
  • Look at your c.v. and focus on improving it. There are some tips here which we think you will find useful, such as concentrating on your grammar and improving the readability. It’s the smallest things that can result in your c.v being put in the reject pile, so have another crack at it, or ask your job coach or a friend for help in writing a new one.
  • Enhance your job search, looking at all the job sites available to you. Spend time handing your c.v. in to local employers, and push on any doors where employment is possible. Don’t just focus on the ‘right’ job either, as while you probably don’t want to take on work that is unattractive to you, often any job is better than having no job at all. If anything, it will boost your c.v. while you look for something more meaningful to you.
  • Update your online presence. Going to find your LinkedIn profile is now the most common practise for people looking to hire you. Having a positive, strong personal brand can help boost your employability.


To get out of the rut of unemployment, you have to be proactive. This means getting yourself out of bed each day. This means finding ways to spend your day. This means focussing on improving your state of mind and employability. So, follow our tips, seek any advice you need, and look after yourself. We wish you every success in your job search.

Ashleigh x

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