1. Think about the type of work you’d like to do.
The process of losing a job, being denied for Social Security benefits, and being told you need to find a new job can be a frustrating and emotionally exhausting ordeal. Even if Social Security says you can work, you might feel angry or put off thinking about a new job search because it feels too stressful. But a new type of work can be a fresh new start that brings new and exciting challenges and experiences.
If you are unsure about what type of work would suit you, consider talking to a guidance counselor. You can also make use of free resources online that suggest career paths based on your personality type, like the website PersonalityPage.com.
2. If you’re not sure if a new type of job is for you, consider volunteering to get an inside look.
Volunteering is a great way to gain experience inside a field you are interested in but unsure about. Another solution may be an adult internship. Sometimes called “returnships”, adult internships are unpaid positions that companies make available to older people who have been unemployed and are returning to work. If you are interested to learn more about this concept, see LearningAdvisor.com’s article, The Ultimate Guide to Adult Internships and Returnships.
3. Look for a mentor in your new field.
If you are looking for a job in a field you have no prior experience in, having a mentor to guide you can be very helpful. Contrary to popular belief, a mentor doesn’t have to be someone older than you. A peer can be a mentor, or even a younger person who is skilled with a new technology or has had many experiences relevant to the line of work you are interested in. Mentoring also does not have to be a formal, face-to-face experience. Your mentor may simply come in the form of a friend who emails you or calls you on the phone for a few hours each week.
The important thing is that you have someone in your life who you can talk to about your new line of work. This person should be able to guide you with first-hand experience from doing the same type of work and answer your questions with insight and compassion.
4. Start networking.
When many people hear the word “networking”, they think of professionals in business suits shaking hands at cocktail parties. But networking simply means talking to people about your job search and what you are interested in doing. The more you discuss your job search with friends and family, the more likely it is that word will get passed on to someone who may be able to connect you with an opportunity. In fact, this is a very common and trusted way for managers to make hiring decisions. It’s easier to hire someone who comes with a recommendation than it is to make a blind call based on a resume.
Especially if your network of family and friends is small, you can also use volunteering in community and service organizations (not just those in which you are interested to work) as a way to meet people, learn skills, and make the connections that will eventually lead to job opportunities.
By using these four tips, you will be well on your way to a new and satisfying line of work!
Joni Beth Bailey is a Southern Illinois Social Security Disability representative.