If you’ve been out of a job for more than six months that makes you part of the group called the long-term unemployed. It’s not a very comfortable position. Although you feel you have the skills and experience to benefit employers they, on the other hand, are focusing on the time you have been away from full-time work and are concerned about the erosion of your skills.
The good news is that 85 percent of all hiring managers are more understanding now than in the past about periods of unemployment. The not-so-good news is you still have to compete against hundreds of other people for each position. So, what can you do to make yourself stand out?
One concern employers have is what you have been doing with your time since you lost your last job – this applies to the skills erosion concern. Have you been active in keeping up your skills and learning new ones? Business analyst Brent Rasmussen has several ideas on how to show them.
One way of showing employers that you are honing your skills is to go back to school, either through taking a certification course, a professional seminar, or even a community college course. If this ongoing education has improved your skills, or added new ones that you can bring to the job, that information should be prominently displayed on your resume.
Another way to keep up your skills is through volunteering. You should look for volunteer work that is a good fit with your profession, and will in turn help you keep your skills sharp. You need to promote this prominently on your resume as well, pointing out how this work has been beneficial. Too few people do this, burying it instead.
Becoming a temporary or contract worker also is a good way to keep your skills sharp and impress employers. Temporary work no longer is just for entry level jobs – there are a range of opportunities available. What’s more, it could be an entry into a full-time job – surveys show that about one-fourth of all employers plan to hire some of their temporary workers full time in the second quarter of 2012.
Two other important strategies also are neglected by job seekers. One is following up after submitting a resume. After sending a resume, follow up with a phone call or email. Also, make sure to thoroughly research the company you are applying to, and make sure you can provide concrete ideas on how you can improve its bottom line. Don’t just focus on past performance.
As mentioned above, working temporary assignments is a terrific way to keep skills sharp, keep the resume full and connect with employers. Contact an Opti Staffing Group recruiter today if you live in Chicago, Anchorage, Seattle, Portland, Tacoma, or Lake Oswego. We look forward to hearing from you.