I've been unemployed for a little over a month now and I would like to give out some tips to those joining this elite club.
1. Embrace it. This can be hard. If you're like me, you'll start out full force looking for your next job. But unfortunately, it is a competitive job market right now, and that next job might not be as easy as you think. Think of this time as the free time you always wanted to do the things you never really have time for...spend more time with loved ones, go on little weekend trips, read books, maybe learn a new skill. Also, a lot of employers want to know what you've been doing in your time off so think of it as a good chance to show them what a self-starter and active learner you are.
2. Get out of the house. Keep active and allow yourself to use the time with activities other than job search. It will make you feel good to be out and about like the rest of the world. I just moved, so I spend a lot of time trying to get to know my new neighborhood.
3. Apply Sparingly. I don't know how recruiters do it but somehow they can see through an unsure application and cover letter. For all the jobs I said "what the heck, I'll just apply and see what happens." I never get a response. For the jobs that I am actually interested in and excited about, I have a way better response rate. Try to really read the job description and make sure you actually like the job and fulfill the basic requirements. In today's job markets, hiring managers have the luxury of hiring people with all of the necessary experience, so its my recommendation to not waste your time on a job that you clearly do not fulfill basic requirements. Instead, spend that time on writing unique and colorful cover letters.
4. Recognize the highs. When you actually earn yourself a one-on-one interview be proud and excited about it, even if it turns out not to be a job offer. Just because you didn't get the offer doesn't mean you weren't a great candidate. You probably beat out 10's maybe 100's of applicants just to earn yourself that in-person. As an inexperienced college grad, its pretty rare I get to the interview stage at all....so just remember there are tons of people out there you beat out. And getting really close with one company could mean a job offer at the next.
5. Work Part-time or temp. This might not be for everyone but I think it could be a really great thing for some. Working partially removes the fiscal pressure of finding that next job. With a little less pressure, interviews might not feel as scary and therefore you will come off more natural and confident through out the process. Also, maybe the part-time or temp work could add an experience that might interest a potential employer. AND a lot of temporary work has been known to lead into full time offers.