(Photo Credit: Kate Hiscock/Flickr)
The economic meltdown wasn’t kind to anyone, really – leaving people from all walks of life unemployed and desperate for work. Some people were fortunate enough to bounce back quickly, while the rest faced unemployment for years on end. For the latter, the huge gap in employment made finding a job – or landing an interview, for that matter – an impossible feat, regardless of qualifications and experience.
The sad reality is, if a hiring manager comes across the resume of a candidate who has been unemployed for a lengthy period of time, then, chances are, that person will be passed over and not considered for the position. However, don’t give up hope if you have been cursed with a streak of bad luck in the employment department. Here are five tips to help you make the most out of your jobless spell and give you the fresh start that you need and deserve.
1. Get to know LinkedIn. Don’t underestimate the power of social media when it comes to searching for, applying to, and landing a job – and it’s all the rage for hiring managers nowadays, too. One of the best social networks for professionals is LinkedIn. With an estimated 259 million acquired users as of June 2013 and more than 3 million companies using LinkedIn Company Pages, the original professional networking site makes it nearly effortless to connect and engage with other professionals, industry leaders, and brands with the click of a button. Need to get a foot in the door at a certain company? Check LinkedIn to find out whether you have a connection within your existing network who is currently employed there and ask for a reference. Find out how to master your profile and your job search on LinkedIn here and here.
2. Use your time wisely. A few ways to fill the gaps in employment and contribute to your resume is by volunteering, becoming a mentor or tutor, or even starting a blog that documents your journey to find a job. Although volunteering doesn’t bring in an income, it's a good use of your time and energy, and it allows you to network. It can also help boost your spirits. Mentoring and tutoring are great ways to utilize your talents, and they also give you an opportunity to earn an income in the process. Another option to fill in the gap is to write about that very “gap” and how you’re being proactive to end your unemployment stint. It’s very possible that a recruiter will find it impressive that you took the time to share your experience and inspire others in your same situation. Additionally, your blog will show recruiters exactly how you’ve been actively seeking out employment opportunities, which is often hard to convey in an interview. Sometimes the unconventional route is the one that takes you to where you need to be in life.
3. Become a consultant. Wendy Enelow, author and career coach, says, "Not long ago, putting 'consultant' on your resume screamed 'couldn't find a job'. That stigma is gone now. If you're an expert at something, it's perfectly acceptable to sell that expertise on an interim basis," in a CNN Money interview. Consulting or contracted work will enable you to contribute to your resume, while also allowing you to make new connections with the companies you’re working for, which could potentially result in a full-time job offer. You may also find that you’re happier and more successful as a consultant (or entrepreneur) as opposed to “working for the man.”
4. Sign up with a recruitment agency. If all your efforts to get a call back have failed, then consider forking over some money to have a professional recruiter relieve you of the grunt work. What’s nice about a recruiter is that they’re on your side and want to know the whole truth behind your unemployment stint. It’s best to be completely honest with recruiters so that they can find a job that best suits your qualifications, experience, and needs.
5. Be patient and don’t give up. Most importantly, remain positive and hopeful throughout your job search, no matter how lengthy it may be. In her interview with CNN Money, Wendy Enelow warns candidates that, “A long job hunt can be demoralizing. But if you go into an interview feeling and acting like a victim of the economy, it will sink you. You need to find ways to keep your spirits up and maintain a positive, forward-looking energy." Have patience and don’t get discouraged, because good things come to those who wait.
Tell Us What You Think
What other advice do you have for job seekers who are afflicted with long-term unemployment? Share your pearls of wisdom with our community on Twitter or in the comments section below.