Lately all I've wanted to do is crawl beneath my covers and hide from the world. I've applied to umpteenth positions with no success.
I'm pretty much out of ideas for what direction to take my life, career wise.
yumyumdonuts, I've been reading these forums for a while but this is my first post. I'm not an academic at all except for completing a BA years ago and briefly working at my grad U in the foundation dept. for 4 mos. a couple years after that. But I do have a lot of experience (too much and never by choice) looking for new employment. I'm just wondering if you've spent much time at your state's workforce center? Are you aware of networking groups meeting in your area which they more than likely keep a list of? Do you have an "elevator speech" prepared describing who you are and what you're looking for? And have you had them look at your resume? I realize that sometimes the counselors there are not always the best but it never hurts to explore what they have to offer. I also realize the networking groups can sometimes seem like they're not worth it but again, it's a good thing to get you out there amongst other job seekers where you can share ideas. You never know who you might meet.
My situation is that I've spent my entire career in IT (technical positions such as application development and system admin.) and believe me, in this field if you don't happen to get experience in the "right" (i.e. "hot") technologies, you're pretty much worth no more than anyone off the street as far as finding new employment. My recent unemployment history is that I was laid off in '09 from a "perm" position as a sys. admin. and then in '10 I had a "1-year, renewable" contract abruptly end after only 4 mos. (nice!) and then the same thing happened in '11 when I had another "ongoing" contract end after only 1 month! Now, finally last Jul. I landed a "perm" position as a BA and of course, I'm just hoping this one will stick!!! And how did I get this most recent job? Well, I had attended a networking group and even though I stopped attending, I remained on their email list (be sure to always get on those) and one email in particular caught my eye because it was sent from a former attendee (who I hadn't even met when I was attending) and he was then the hiring manager for a BA position that I was reasonably qualified for so I sent him my resume. Well, I did get an interview for that position but it eventually went to an internal candidate (so disappointing to have that happen) but lo and behold, he said another BA position would be opening (at a lower grade level of course) and I made sure to keep in touch (not calling too often though so that I wouldn't be a pest) and wouldn't you know, I eventually got that job. So it just shows you that you never know what might happen. The whole process from seeing his original email until I got this job took about 3 mos. during which time I had no idea what would happen and really felt like they were probably wasting my time again with the second position but I hung in there and here I am!!!
I really understand what you're going through and how scary and frustrating it is but I just wanted to offer my story in the hope it might help you. I often felt like doing nothing and honestly, I often did do nothing in my job search (luckily I had some unemployment as well as savings to carry me through for quite a while--I don't have a spouse or any other income though) so it certainly wasn't easy for me but I do really believe it's a good idea to do the things I did and it just might work out for you too!!! This position isn't a "perfect" fit for me as the pay is much lower than I was making but that's not what matters. It's a very good company with lots of potential and if all goes well, I can work my way back "up". Anyone can do what I did--I mean it when I say that I really didn't do a good job at all with my so-called job searching but I did do some basic things and it finally paid off. Good luck to you and keep us posted!