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Maintaining marketability among the long-term unemployed

Maintaining marketability among the long-term unemployed

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For the past two weeks we have looked at job rejection psychology and touched on two effects of long-term unemployment on job seekers i.e. loss of status and social isolation. This week, we turn our attention to employers’ advice to the long-term unemployed on how they can remain marketable.

Brent Rasmussen, in an article titled “What employers want from the long-term unemployed”, shares insight from Career Builders research on how employers think that long-term job seekers can stand out. According to the article, eighty-five percent of employers are more understanding of employment gaps than they were in previous years and reveal steps that long-term job seekers can take to draw attention to their resume.

Two of the steps are:

1. Taking a class or going back to school. In the research, sixty-one percent of employers recommend long-term job seekers to take a certification course, attend professional seminars or enroll in college courses. They believe that if the subject matter expands job seekers’ skill set that the information should be featured prominently on their resume.

2. Volunteering. Not many job seekers understand the logics of volunteering their time and skill. However, sixty percent of hiring managers say volunteering increases job seekers marketability. Volunteering builds your personal and professional character. Employers recommend that “Job seekers choose volunteer work that can be woven organically into their existing professional narratives — and then be ready to sell it no differently than the rest of their work history.”

In a recent conversation with a long-term job seeker, she thought that following up on job applications indicated a level of desperation, and she didn’t want to seem desperate. However, as a hiring manager, one job search tactic that I find to be underutilized is ‘follow-up’.

Research shows that two-thirds of job seekers never follow up with employers after applying for a job. I recall hiring a candidate who after submitting her application, visited the office so that I could put a face to the name and persistently called every month to find out if there was any opening. Rasmussen, said sending an email a week or two after submission can prompt a closer look or a second look at your resume.

In closing, regardless of how frustrating the job search process may be, it is important to strive to maintain a positive attitude and to build self-confidence. I strongly recommend becoming an honorary member of Toastmasters International if you cannot afford full fledged membership. Attending regular meetings and interacting with professionals will aid in honing your leadership and communication skills, build your confidence and may lead to networking opportunities.

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