Key Strategies for the Long-Term Unemployed

John Krautzel
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Though the jobless rate in the United States continues to dip, as many as 2.5 million workers have not had a job for at least 27 weeks. People with long-term unemployment find it harder to land a job, even if a person has relevant skills. Use these resume-building strategies and job search tips to try to land a good position after months of no leads.

Potential candidates who have been out of work for less time are more likely to have job offers, even if they lack the skills and experience necessary to do the job, perhaps because their resume shows more continuity of employment. Candidates who have long-term unemployment are more likely to have resumes with larger employment gaps. Show your employment dates clearly on a resume. Include months and a year to show precisely how long you stayed with a particular company.

Gaps in employment before the recession may have been a red flag. However, many people became long-term unemployment statistics between 2007 and 2013. Be honest about your gaps and take responsibility for them.

Fill in those gaps with activities. If you were out of a job from November 2012 to June 2013, show you volunteered at a local soup kitchen, worked temporary jobs or freelanced. Perhaps you even became a stay-at-home parent during that time. Participate in non-job related activities to strengthen your network since new connections may lead to a good job reference, even if you have an issue with long-term unemployment.

Find a part-time job to maintain some semblance of financial health during your unemployment. Stay active and create a fitness routine to help relieve stress and get in better shape. Take a class to maintain your skills during any downtime. If you freelance, make new additions to your portfolio in between job interviews. These resume-building strategies show up on paper when you say you improved your quality of life, increased your skills and organized your life during long-term unemployment.

Optimize your resume by using relevant keywords within a company's job description. When the job calls for someone familiar with the Affordable Care Act, do not use the shortened form, or ACA. A computerized keyword search program may not know that ACA and the Affordable Care Act represent the same thing. Run your resume through an analysis tool such as Jobscan. This software shows you if your tailored resume matches a job description. This gives you a better chance to pass applicant tracking system software screening and helps your resume appear on a hiring manager's radar.

Long-term unemployment does not need to doom your chances of getting a good job. Remain persistent, be honest about gaps and know what to say about those slow times to show potential employers you have what it takes to get through times of crisis.

Photo courtesy of pakron at



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  • Nancy Anderson
    Nancy Anderson

    @Ephraim thanks for your question. It's a tough one to answer without knowing what you are qualified for. Many companies will offer to sponsor workers. They will usually indicate their willingness in the job announcement. Keep an eye out for those. In addition, many companies will allow you to work remotely. Not all of these companies will allow the remote employee to be outside of the country but you never know until you apply for them. Best of luck.


    thats very true but how can a person from outside america get employed?

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