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How to Beat Long-term Unemployment

Your résumé is key to beating long-term unemployment.

When Sam was laid off, he had no idea of the horror that would slowly unfold.

He had heard about colleagues that were laid off, who didn’t find a job and faded into oblivion. He just assumed they didn’t have their act together. His cousin Stella had been unemployed for almost a year. It was awkward to see her at family gatherings. She seemed depressed.

On a daily basis, the time seemed to stand still, yet the first three months passed quickly and he realized he was almost through his severance.

The résumé prepared by the staffing agency had not brought any interviews. The online application systems were exasperating. It was as if he ceased to exist. Finances were dwindling.

Six months passed and Sam realized he was in trouble. He thought of Stella.
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What is long-term unemployment?

Long-term unemployment is defined as unemployment that lasts longer than six months. The Huffington Post reports that the average duration for joblessness is approximately 35.3 weeks, or almost nine months. The article reports that:
Of the 12.3 million Americans unemployed, in December the share of workers who were jobless six months or longer dipped below 40 percent for the first time since late 2009. And the portion of unemployed Americans out of work for 99 weeks or longer fell to 11.2 percent in January, the lowest level in two years.

Of people out of work for more than a year since the recession, only one in 10 will find work each month.
The article goes on to warn that although long-term unemployment is diminishing, the data doesn’t report on the quality of the jobs that long-term jobseekers are finding.

It is not illegal in most states for companies to factor in an applicant’s job status when filling a position according to this article in Bloomberg Business Week.

How to beat long-term unemployment:
The advice given in this blog should be taken as soon as a person becomes unemployed. However, if you’ve been unemployed for over a year, this still works.

Maze_Person_Glow Résumé is key!
Even if you believe that networking is the only way to get a job, sooner or later, someone will want to see your résumé. Your résumé tells your story, and it has to answer two key questions that respond to the concerns of hiring professionals.

The two key questions are:
  1. Are you current in your industry?
  2. Are you “work-ready”?

If you have been out of work for longer than three months,
your résumé must respond to these two concerns
and demonstrate that your are current
and ready to take on the challenges and rigor
of a fast-paced work environment.

The comprehensive employment program:

I coach my clients with an approach that is both strategic and tactical. Together, we focus on five areas that translate directly to their résumé.
  1. Be proactive:
    • Relevant volunteering: There is a lot of chat about the importance of volunteering and jobseekers are finding ways to donate time to non-profit organizations. In return for their effort, it gives them dignity, purpose and meaning. It will hopefully yield a recent credible reference.

      However: few jobseekers look at their volunteerism from the perspective of a future employer. If a senior vice-president volunteers at a local soup kitchen, it may demonstrate his or her humility and compassion, however, it does very little to demonstrate work skills that are sharp and current.

      The point is that if volunteer work is going to present a case to a future employer, then the work has to be relevant to the skills needed for a future position.

    • Networking activities
      Many jobseekers network with other jobseekers. This is a great first step. There are jobseeker groups that meet in a host of public facilities including libraries, community centers, churches, synagogues and the like.

      These are places where jobseekers can learn and practice networking skills. Every jobseeker should be a part of a jobseeker support group.

      However, these meetings are practice for appointments with someone who has enough influence to promote your candidacy for employment.
  2. Be knowledgeable:
    • Find credible classes, certifications, or degree programs. This doesn’t have to be an MBA program and it doesn’t have to be costly.

      Many libraries carry licenses to credible online programs. UniversalClass offers extensive certifications and classes on a wide variety of programs including computer skills, programming, grant writing, and medical billing, and management. The cost for an individual is only $189 per year and you can take as many courses as you want—from home.
  3. Be an expert:
    • LinkedIn groups are an unending source of current industry practice. Jobseekers can stay sharp, knowledgeable, and up to date in their field. Every jobseeker should read, contribute an connect with group members every week.

      There is simply no reason not to be relevant and up to date on your industry!
  4. Be diligent:
    • Online applications are as frustrating as they are time-consuming. However, they are a requirement for most positions. By participating through the online systems jobseekers will also get a sense of the ebb and flow of hiring for their industry.
    • The Forward Motion Differentiation Workshop teaches jobseekers how penetrate the online systems and capture the attention of hiring professionals. (Our best time is 7 minutes from “submit” to getting a phone call.)
    ScaredLTUnemployed_RichsMgmntBlog
  5. Be found:
    • Recruiters and staffing agencies
      Registering with staffing agencies is one way to be considered for the “hidden jobs market.” Before a jobseeker contacts a recruiter they must understand the recruitment processes and be prepared. Staffing agencies look for candidates who can step into a position tomorrow, represent them well, and build loyalty for their clients.

      Before meeting with a recruiter, jobseekers should have a polished résumé, elevator statement, and personal presentation. They should be prepared to clearly communicate their situation, articulate ideal jobs, and quickly educate the staffing agent about their skillsets and adaptability.

    • LinkedIn profile By now, most jobseekers know that LinkedIn is critical. Ninety-four percent of hiring professionals will check your LinkedIn profile before calling. There should be a minimum of 150 connections, 8 to 10 groups, and activity posts. Jobseekers are encouraged to check the list of people who view their profile and respond back to them.
With this program in place, the next step is to transfer this information to the résumé in a clear, succinct format. Remember that the purpose of the résumé is to get someone to pick up the phone and give you a call.

In today’s market, an effective career strategist and job coach can significantly reduce your time to employment. This isn’t something to do alone.

Call Forward Motion:
Right job,
Right fit,
Right now!


Related article: Strategies to Break Long-Term Unemployment

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Looking for work? Need an interview?
mlareau@forwardmotioncareers.com. Call (860) 833-4072 for a free 30-minute consultation.

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