If you just lost your job, despair not. With the right steps, you might find yourself hired again faster than you think. It's true that how long you're unemployed largely depends on what you do after you no longer have a job, but it's also extremely important how you explain your specific situation on your resume. Take a look at these practical tips for getting your professional groove back.
1. Your Length of Time
If you're unemployed for a year or longer, that may not bode well compared to someone who just lost a job; this is because many recruiters believe your skills are stale as a result of being out of the workforce for a long time. That's why you need a strategy for landing your next opportunity the moment you put your office desk's belongings in your trunk. Even if you still haven't found a job a year later, you can still find a great position with the right strategy.
2. Job-Hunt Through Networking
Even though there are tons of job boards out there with thousands of companies looking for top talent, networking is one of the most effective ways to find a new position when you're unemployed. Yes, networking is more time-consuming and it takes some effort. However, sending out dozens of resumes to job boards is not a very lucrative strategy. You need to think quality versus quantity.
Ask questions of people who can put you in touch with hiring managers. Attend industry events within your profession, and talk to people who attend chamber of commerce meetings. LinkedIn is an important facet of your networking efforts as well. Spend a certain amount of time per day, maybe 30 minutes to an hour, solely on networking.
Engage in activities when you're unemployed, even if they don't directly lead to a position, such as volunteering with a nonprofit. Your volunteer supervisor can serve as a valuable reference for you down the road, and that person can vouch for your skills and abilities, too. Volunteering also portrays you as a well-rounded individual who can show dedication to a cause that doesn't necessarily involve a paycheck.
Enhance your skills by attending formal classes, getting a formal certification or attending training. When you complete these courses, you receive a piece of paper that says you gained the knowledge from those classes. Anything that improves your skills in a formal setting looks good on a resume, whether you're unemployed or not.
4. The Message
Manage your message both on paper and when you talk to your contacts. Find ways to fill gaps in your resume and explain how you handled your time outside of the labor force. Highlight the positives of your previous jobs, no matter how you left those positions. Maintain that positivity as you tell the story of your free time. Don't dwell on it too much, but remain succinct and strategic about your message of unemployment before moving on to your skills and what you bring to the new position.
When you're unemployed, it is definitely a scary time filled with uncertainty, stress and perhaps lean times. However, in a highly competitive job market, you can find yourself hired again by playing it smart with your time and job-search efforts.
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