CAREER PROS: Overcoming Long-Term Joblessness
Recent government statistics show that almost 43 percent of Americans who are currently unemployed have been so for more than 27 weeks. More than six months without a steady paycheck could lead anyone to feel frustrated, depressed, helpless and afraid.
If you’re currently unemployed or if you’ve experienced a job loss in the past then you will know how hard it is to get a new job. Jobs, especially good jobs are very hard to come by. With the feeble state of the economy today, companies are much less likely to be hiring a lot of people. This is why, if you’ve just experienced a loss of income due to a job loss you’re probably not going to find a job by tomorrow.
It is true that there are signs of improvement in our economy these numbers are deceiving for skilled and higher paying positions. Some companies are expressing their interest in only passive job seekers or those who have been unemployed for less than three months. Why are these companies making it even tougher for the long term unemployed to re-enter the job market? Let’s look at some of the thinking that goes into these decisions.
First, you’ll want to know what options are at your disposal. The U.S Federal Government through its Department of Labor actually provides unemployed help. If you apply and are found to be qualified by your state’s standards you will be entitled to a monthly allowance for six months.
Network, Network, Network: Continually increase your level of networking and keep expanding your contact database.
Try to tone down the excesses and if possible do away with them entirely: If you’ve developed the habit of having to go shopping regularly for example, you might want to consider dropping the habit. You need to accept the sad reality that you can’t live like you used to. The job loss doesn’t have to be forever. But until you’ve managed to get a new job, the excesses have to be lessened.
Improve and enhance all the documents in your career portfolio: Craft a unified package that consistently conveys a highly professional image of you. This should include a resume, a one-page professional biography, powerful accomplishment stories, compelling cover letters, professional references, a list of targeted employers, and a 30-second commercial (elevator speech).
Search job boards, Google, LinkedIn, etc: For jobs that require the skills and qualities you listed. Once you have created this profile of yourself; talk to people. Let them know that this is who you are, these are the skills you have, and this is what you can do for your next employer.
Practice interviewing and negotiation skills: Solicit the help of a partner to role-play with you, and switch roles as needed with the questions and answers. Practice with an audio-recording device, and listen to yourself as you continually improve your performance.
Pursue a temporary, part-time, or contract position: Volunteer, provide pro-bono work, take on a consulting contract, or complete an internship or apprenticeship.
Surviving an extended unemployment period may not be the easiest thing in the world. But equipping yourself with the right mindset and looking for unemployment help in the right places will help your situation a lot. Conducting a successful job search campaign takes energy, discipline, and career support. Despite the pressures many face in today’s employment market, jobseekers must stay focused on their goals, use a variety of proven job-search techniques and search smart.