Career Advice

Navigating Questions About Unemployment

By: Emily Dawson
Dec 16, 2020 • 6 min read

Navigating Questions About Unemployment – 7 Responses You Can Use.

The holidays are a time when family and friends gather. Everyone will catch up on what they missed, not seeing each other throughout the year, and their plans for next year. There are always those family members who may push you just a little too hard with the life questions. If you are an unemployed person, this may be especially difficult for you. You may find yourself trapped by your aunt asking, “How’s the job search coming,” or “What are you going to do with your life,” or any other somewhat intruding questions. In this blog, we will share 7 responses you can use when answering these pressing questions about unemployment. 

1. “I’m looking for the right one.”

Whether you have been hard searching for a job or just doing so nonchalantly, this is a great answer to the proposed questions. It suggests that you are looking for a job, and more specifically, the one that fits you the best. It tells your family member that you aren’t just looking for any job but one that is suited for your skills and expertise. The only downfall to this answer is that you will likely have to answer a follow-up question like, “What is the right job?” Be prepared to answer follow-up questions about unemployment, too. Think of an industry you want to go into or a job that has a skill that applies to you. 

 2. “I’ve got some prospects.”

If you have been applying to jobs recently and have not heard back from them about the application status, this is a great answer. It suggests that you are waiting to hear back from a few companies or have already heard back and have some options. This answer has a positive connotation and will have the person asking you the question curious about what you are up to. You also must be prepared to answer a follow-up question with this answer like, “Oh? What are they?” This is the point when you can list off a few companies or positions that you have applied for or interviewed with that are still open-ended.

questions about unemployment

3. “I’m focusing on myself right now.”

This answer allows you to avoid the direct question, but it still suggests that you are telling the truth. If you were having a hard time applying to jobs because you didn’t know what you wanted to do, this is a great answer. It suggests that you are practicing self-care and getting other aspects of your life in order. Yes, it seems a little suspicious to answer the question that way and leave your family member questioning if you are trying to find a job. You must assure them with more details in what you are doing to better yourself and figure out your life. This could be getting in better health or securing a place to live. Remember, you have a right to your own privacy. So only share details if you feel the need to do so! 

 4.  “Now isn’t a good time for me to be searching for jobs.”

Looking for jobs can be difficult if you have a lot more going on in your life. Say a family member you are close with is sick or you’re dealing with something unexpected, then this is a good answer for you. It suggests that you have other things more important in your life that you need to take care of. This answer may lead to more personal questions that you may or may not be comfortable answering. Still, if a family member asks the question, they likely know what you are dealing with and understand your position. This is also a great answer if you just aren’t looking for a “career job” right now. You might be perfectly happy with your part-time job or don’t see a reason to leave your current job!

brass-colored candle holder on brown table

 5.  “I’m just enjoying life.”

You may be unemployed by choice and are still sustaining a fulfilling life right now. If that is the case, this is a great answer for you. This answer suggests that you are happy in your situation now and that finding a job is not a priority for you right now. This is a confident answer, and you should make sure that you have the answers to back it up. You’ll want to talk about how you are enjoying your life and why a job isn’t a priority. You can still talk about it without talking about where you get your money from. This is a perfectly dignified answer when being confronted with questions about unemployment, and you shouldn’t be afraid of it!

6.  “I’m struggling.”

If this is true, there is no reason for you not to tell! There is no shame in not finding a job, and everyone will understand and empathize with you. The reality is finding a job is difficult, especially in 2020. This answer shows that you are not afraid to admit that you are having a hard time and opens up a part of the conversation that the other answers do not. You can now ask the person talking, “Do you know anyone who is hiring?” Close family members and friends are always happy to help and reach out to people they know for you. This is a great conversation to have if you are looking for a temporary job or know that a certain person they know is in an industry you are interested in.

questions about unemployment

 7. “I’d rather not talk about it.”

Frankly, how the job search is going is none of their business! If someone asks you questions about unemployment and you would rather not talk about it, you have the right to say no! This is your life, and whether you are employed or not likely doesn’t concern the person who is asking. Don’t be afraid to reject these questions and redirect the conversation. If you are unemployed, this is your own personal business, and you can choose to keep your career as private as your please. 

How do you handle pressing questions about unemployment when gathering for the holidays with close family and friends? Connect with us on social media and share your tips!

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