Long-Term Unemployment? How to Overcome It

March 22nd, 2013

It’s sad but true—often, the longer you’ve been unemployed, the more trouble you might have finding new work. And if you let it, long-term unemployment can ruin not only your sense of self-worth, but your well-being.

Even in IT and engineering, where jobs are supposed to be plentiful, there are some areas of the country where the job market hasn’t been as strong. If you have been out of work for awhile, it may be time to refresh your job search—and your attitude. Let’s start by analyzing what you’ve been doing, then discuss what you should be doing.

1. How many hours a week do you spend looking for a job?

You should spend 20 to 30 hours a week looking for a new position, slightly less if you are working part time or volunteering (more on that later).

2. How efficiently are you spending your job search time?

Are you answering ads you’re truly qualified for, asking people in your personal and professional network for leads and/or cold calling hiring managers and desirable employers? Or are you revising your resume yet again, or responding to job ads you’re not fully qualified for, just to apply for something? It’s a better use of your time to talk to potential connections, chase down a few strong leads and tailor your resume to them, than applying to everything you see.

3. Are you looking in the right places? Have you been targeting too narrow a niche or too high level a job?

Do you need to widen your search or bring it down a notch or two? Can you make a lateral move or work in a less-specialized position?

4. Have you had several interviews but no job offers? Or no interviews at all?

To get an interview, your resume has to make it through the first round—where screening is probably being done by a computer. Make sure your resume is formatted properly and contains the right keywords.

If interviews aren’t leading to offers, brush up on your interview skills.

Three more tips to try:

  • Consider Volunteering. Try volunteering with a local charity as a way to keep busy while you’re looking for a job. You may even meet an important connection that could lead to a job!
  • Call Your Last Employer. Maybe they cut too many employees during the recession and are struggling now. See if you can pick up some freelance or contract work from any previous employers that know you and your work.
  • Confront Bias. Yes, there is bias against the long-term unemployed. So deal with it head on! Make sure interviewers know the meaningful ways you’ve spent your time.

If you feel like you’ve done everything you can but still haven’t found the full-time job you want, contact the staffing experts at Synerfac. We’d be glad to help!

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