The economy may be improving, but if you’ve been out of work for an extended time, this fact is of little consolation. Being unemployed, especially for a protracted period, takes a toll on even the toughest job seeker. Over time, it can:
- damage your résumé
- decrease your morale
- undermine your financial security.
What makes unemployment even more frustrating is that some employers ignore résumés sent to them by job seekers who aren’t working. They believe that requiring a candidate to be gainfully employed is just “smart business” – helping them control the flood of applications and filter out “damaged goods” before spending valuable time and resources on screening and interviewing.
The simple truth is that jobless discrimination is a troubling trend in hiring. This doesn’t mean you’re doomed; it just means you have to stay strong. To overcome a gap in employment – and break free of the “unemployment cloud” that’s hanging over you – follow PrideStaff’s tips to get your job search back on track:
- Keep your skills up-to-date. Even if you’re not actively working, you can do a lot to keep your knowledge current and your skills sharp. Consider taking a class, volunteering or working as an intern. Going the extra mile to maintain up-to-date skills demonstrates to an employer that you’re keeping up, not stagnating.
- Work through a staffing agency. One of the easiest, and most rewarding, ways to overcome your jobless stigma is by working as a temporary employee through PrideStaff. Beyond merely changing your employment status, working for an employment agency can help you:
o Earn great pay – at a time when you really need it.
o Keep your morale up – by staying productive and engaged.
o Build your résumé and keep your skills sharp – with each new assignment comes new challenges, allowing you to grow and gain experience.
o Find direct employment – if you prove yourself on the job, your temporary position may convert to a direct opportunity. While you’re on assignment, PrideStaff can actively search for job opportunities that match your skills, experience and interests. We’ll help ensure you don’t just search, you succeed.
- Perfect your résumé. Now is your chance to turn this all-important document into an even more powerful job search tool! Plenty of free resources are available online to provide guidance and examples. If you’ve been out of work for an extended period, you may want to consider switching to a functional format. This allows you to lead with your skills and qualifications, outside the context of employment dates.
- Network, network, network. Contact everyone you know and explain your situation. Ask for their help in getting past HR (and thereby keep yourself from being unfairly “screened out”). Even if your contacts don’t know of available positions, they may be able to help you set up informational interviews – which will put you in front of hiring decision-makers and allow them to see the real you (not just an employment gap).
- Try to maintain a positive attitude. When you struggle during a job search, it’s easy to isolate and berate yourself. Don’t fall into this self-defeating trap. Make time to socialize with friends and accept the camaraderie and support they offer. Remind yourself that losing a job is nothing unusual, especially these days. Forgive yourself and resolve to change your situation. Bottom line, do whatever you can to maintain a positive state of mind during a very difficult time.
Contact PrideStaff. As one of the nation’s top employment agencies, we help job seekers get back on their feet and advance their careers. And be sure to search our jobs database to view our current career opportunities.