Tag Archives: Long Term Unemployed

3 Tips to Beat an Unemployment Stigma

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This week, yet another study has come out to prove the obvious. It says the long-term unemployed are being discriminated against when they submit their resumes online for jobs. Shocker. Really? Who knew?! I’m sorry for the intense sarcasm, but as someone who is passionate about teaching people how to find work in these challenging times, this kind of information being showcased repeatedly only does one thing: tells the long-term unemployed to give up.

Well, I’m not a quitter – and I don’t want the long-term unemployed giving up on themselves either!

I got so upset, I reached out to a top recruiter to get his thoughts. I wanted to see if he could provide some insight as to what would make him place a long-term unemployed person. Lou’s what we call an “old school” recruiter. He’s very confident in his ability to assess true talent. He even wrote a book as a way to teach recruiters how to find top talent for their clients which also doubles as a book to show talent how to get the attention of recruiters. I called him and said, “Lou, when you meet a long-term unemployed person, how do you decide if they can be placed?”

Lou said, “Easy. I ask them what they’ve been doing while they’ve been out of work. If they can’t tell me at least one measurable way they’ve bettered themselves professionally, I tell them I can’t help them and to call me in a year when they’ve done something.”

Wow. How’s that for honesty?

Lou went on to say he believes part of the reason we have such a high level of long-term unemployment is that we’ve created a dependent workforce. Lou says he sees people every day who still don’t understand it’s their job to keep their skills both current and relevant. When you’re unemployed, if you can’t see the need to do that on your own – you’re sending a clear message to employers you aren’t the kind of proactive, resourceful talent they’re looking for.

So, what’s an out-of-work person to do?

My answer: Disrupt the process. The problem isn’t just in the employers looking at the date of your last job, it’s also in the dysfunctional process of submitting the resume online. Of course the long-term unemployed don’t stand a chance when submitting their credentials electronically – they aren’t there to convey in-person what they’ve been up to. The only viable solution is to go around the process. With that in mind, here are three tips for beating the unemployment stigma.

  1. Never apply solely online. When you see a job you know you are 100% fit for, start looking for people you can connect with who work there. Leverage your social networks and find someone you can contact about the job. I don’t care if you have to ask a friend to introduce you to a total stranger. In the words of Nike, “just do it!” Nobody can job search alone. You need to ask for help. In fact, you have to do everything in your power to get someone to “pitch” you for that job – or at least get you a shot at pitching yourself. At the very least, getting your killer cover letter and a solid recommendation walked in to the manager can help them overlook the lack of recent employment on your resume.
  2. Create an interview bucket list. Stop going after the posted jobs and competing against thousands of other applicants – many of whom are employed and will get the interview over you. Instead, identify 10-20 companies you want to work for and start proactively connecting with people who work there. Discuss what types of problems they are busy solving at their companies and what types of skill sets they’ll be looking for to support their efforts. Get the inside track on potential opportunities and a head-start on the interviewing process by making friends with those you’d like to earn a chance to work with. Who knows? If you can develop a professional relationship based on shared professional interest, they just might help you get hired.
  3. Develop a problem-solving marketing platform. I always tell people, “you are a business-of-one.” That means you must develop a marketing plan for your business’ unique brand. The most attractive talent are aspirin to an employer’s pain. Identifying a problem you like to solve that showcases your professional expertise is vital to off-setting your lack of current employment. If you can talk about how you like to save and/or make a company money using your proven approach to solving problems, you can show them the fact you are between jobs right now doesn’t mean you aren’t a valuable commodity. Instead, they just might see you as an underutilize asset!

NOTE: Success with these tips hinges on one thing.

The above tips only work when an unemployed person believes in their professional abilities. Rejection is part of the job search process, but it doesn’t mean you aren’t qualified or capable. You must trust in your skills and continue to market them. You’ve got nothing to lose, so why not go out there and play by a new set of job search rules? That way, you can use the tips above to give yourself a fighting chance.

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Filed under Attitude, Job Search

6 Tips For Experienced Job Seekers Who Have Been Unemployed Long-Term

The tight job market has affected all demographics — but older workers have really felt the squeeze, particularly if they found themselves out of work for one reason or another. Statistics show that older workers are unemployed for an average of 44 weeks (more than 10 months), according to an AARP report.

After a recent post by my co-founder Sean, on the things employers want to see on your resume, we recognized how easy it is to get frustrated and want to give up during the job search. But staying active and positive is the key to job search success. Follow the tips below to maximize your job search and get one step closer to your ideal position.

1. Sell, sell, sell. Consistently, the biggest mistake we see is that people write a ‘me’ focused resume. A primary example of this is the outdated objective statement – if you have the word ‘seeking’ on your resume, you’re writing a ‘me’ resume. Employers don’t hire you for your satisfaction; they hire you to fill their own critical need. Think of it this way. If you were in sales, would you ever say to a customer “Buy this item because I need the commission”? And if you were the customer, would you buy? A ‘me’ centered resume says essentially the same thing.

Your job is to think of the potential employer as a customer. You’ve know they’re a hot lead because they’ve taken the time to post the job – so someone is going to close the deal with them. How do you make sure they go with you? By selling to them like you would sell to anyone else. Figure out their pain points. Why are they hiring? Who have they hired in the past? What’s their most critical need? And then go in there with your sales guns blazing; be the solution to their problem.

2. Really tap your network. As you’ve heard before, “it’s who you know” that often helps you land a job. This is especially true with small businesses who cannot afford to post jobs on pricey job boards (or don’t have the time to sift through the hundreds of applications they may receive), but some larger companies also rely on referrals to fill open positions.

Actively keep in touch with former colleagues, friends, and family, and let them know you’re on the job search. If you know someone who works at an organization you’d like to work for, ask them to grab coffee or lunch to strengthen your relationship and inquire about possible opportunities there.

3. Perfect your resume. If you’re on the job search, your first priority should be your resume. It must show your value to potential employers to ensure you make it to the interview round. Make sure resume uses active writing to show hiring managers and recruiters what you accomplished and what you’re capable of.

Make sure that your resume is clean and clutter free. Anything that does not effectively sell your skills needs to go. Clean up your resume by using the ever faithful bullet points. Always keep in mind that less is sometimes more. You don’t need to get too fancy with fonts, language or formatting.
4. Search for free using your resources. Find job opportunities from sites across the Web — from job boards and government sites, to company career sites and newspapers, and more. Set up email alerts or RSS feeds to learn about jobs as they’re posted. Keeping on top of new postings can help you be one of the first to apply and ensure you get your resume in front of employers before the position is filled.

5. Learn new skills. Although you likely have a lot of experience in your industry, there’s always room to learn something new, particularly if you have been unemployed for several months. Look for certification programs or relevant classes you can take to boost your resume and impress potential employers.

6. Use social media for personal branding and networking. According to a study by Jobvite, 16 percent of job seekers (a combination of unemployed and looking, employed and looking, or employed and open to a new job) said “an online social network directly led to finding their current/most recent job.” Of those, the majority (78 percent) attributed their job to Facebook, 40% to LinkedIn, and 42% to Twitter. Since each network can be beneficial to your job search in different ways, it’s important you don’t write off certain online opportunities because you don’t see the value or think your age demographic isn’t right for them.

You should also keep in mind that your presence on these networks represents your online brand. The majority of employers now use social media to screen job candidates, and 68 percent said they have hired someone based on what they saw about them online (such as giving a positive impression or supporting professional qualifications).

What do you think? Are there other tactics that helped you land a job when you were unemployed? Please share in the comments below!

Gerrit Hall is the CEO and co-founder of RezScore, a free Web application that reads, analyzes, and grades resumes — instantly. Gerrit has successfully combined his passion for computer science and the careers space by helping job seekers write the best resume possible. You can connect with Gerrit and RezScore on Facebook and Twitter.

Cross posted from Simplyhired

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Filed under Network, Resume, Self-Improvement, Skill, Social Media