I’m tired of the job search. Nothing is working. This job search is taking too long.
Are these your thoughts? Unwilling unemployment is stressful, tiring, and discouraging. For those struggling with long-term unemployment, here are some tips that can help you change your job search tactic and outlook.
1. Choose a functional resume over a chronological one.
This type of resume takes the focus out of the years you’ve worked and instead puts the focus on relevant skill sets. For example, if the position is looking for someone with strong writing experience, a functional resume will list “Writing/Editing Content” at the top of the resume. Then all work experience related to writing will follow. This type of resume takes the focus away from years worked and instead addresses how your skills match the prospective position. To view a sample of both functional and chronological resumes, here’s a guide on resume construction.
2. Fill in those unemployment gaps with activity.
It’s important to show that you’ve been actively pursuing other ventures and strengthening your skills during your time of unemployment. Find yourself a project to get involved in, whether it be a charity you’re interested in or a non-profit company that’s looking for volunteers.
Do something that shows you are self-employed and assertive. This can help fill in those resume gaps and show employers that you’ve been productive with your time, giving them the assurance that you can smoothly transition from your current project to the ones within the new role.
3. Don’t over explain.
If employers ask about your unemployment, keep it short and simple. Over-explaining tends to give away more information than necessary. You want to address the employer’s question on your unemployment, but the key is to take the conversation away from the past and bring it to the future. To do this, talk about projects you’ve been involved in, then link that to how skills acquired from the project can transition to fit your new role.
4. Strive for efficiency. Quality over quantity.
Don’t apply to any available job listing, thinking that casting a wide net will cause one of them to eventually bite. This is wasting precious time and resources. Instead, use your resources to apply for targeted job listings. The general rule of thumb is, if you meet 70% of the job description, apply.
5. Pitch yourself to old employers.
Your old employers are the ones who may know your background and work style better than new ones. If you left the company on a good note, it’s okay and can be strategic to just go back to that company and ask for a contract or freelance position. Frame it in a way that shows your expert knowledge of the company and use your previous experience working there as leverage to market yourself as a safe hire. Most companies see newer candidates as risky investments because they lack familiarity in the candidate and their overall work ethic. However, previous candidates that have been successful, but let go due to budget constraints, may be good investments for contract or freelance openings.
6. Change your outlook
Don’t blame yourself and don’t be discouraged. Being long-term unemployed can be stressful, but this stress fuels a vicious cycle where you enter an interview feeling stressed and anxious to get the job. Employers pick up on this anxiety and therefore, become less likely to hire you. Clear your mind, stay positive, and learn how to manage job search frustration. Look within your community and join a job group with people in your similar situation. You might be surprised to find that this can be a great space of mutual support and advice sharing.