A year ago unemployment was bad enough. But for some a year on who are still unemployed, it's a desperate situation. General unemployment figures have got a lot worse in this last year. Not only have more people been put out of work, but those who were hit first with the credit crunch in many cases are still looking for a job. Employers are spoiled for choices at the moment. So many people are applying for the same job that unless you have a perfect work history you stand little chance of being selected.
And the longer you're out of work the harder it is to get back in. Employers look at the long term unemployed with a suspicious eye. Even if you have a great resume or CV an employer will look at you and think...If no one else is employing this person, why should I... what am I missing? They also think that if you've been unemployed for a long time that you're not motivated to find work and question how hard you're trying. It's a bit like the Banks... if you need money they don't seem to want to lend you any. But if you're rolling in it they fall over each other to give you a loan. Life's just not fair...is it?
Of course with long term unemployment comes the lack of confidence from the person looking for work. That shows itself up in many ways. Once you begin to feel unworthy of a job, you stop caring about your appearance as much, punctuality becomes less important. And the drive to just live life can be exhausting. The more job rejections you get the less confident you feel... it's a vicious circle.
So what can you do to improve your chances of getting back into work? Well no one said it was going to be easy, but there are things you can do to help.
1/ First thing to do is take a look at that résumé or CV. Go over it yourself, check for spelling and grammar. Make sure there are no glaring mistakes, gaps in work history etc. If you have done some voluntary work or assisted at your child's school whilst looking for work, put that in. It shows that you were out there trying to do something constructive as opposed to just sitting at home.
Then have someone else look over it for you, preferably a professional. You have to understand, that employers get lots of CVs on their desk. They will take a quick glance over a CV and discard any with obvious errors. So it pays to make sure that yours is as good as it can be.
2/ Before turning up for an interview (if you're lucky enough to be offered one), do a bit of research on the company you're applying to. Nothing annoys an employer more if they ask you why you want to work for them and you haven't got a clue about the company. They're usually looking for more than... ''it's a job and I need work''!
3/ If you have an interview with a prospective employer, try to pump yourself up. Not just by looking smart or professional (remember first impressions do count) but by telling yourself that you are worthy of this job and that you can do it. Interviewers are experts at gauging the temperament of an interviewee. They can tell if you're nervous, so preparation for an interview will give you the ability to answer questions and come across as confident, even if you don't feel it.
4/ It's vitally important to let everyone know you're looking for work. Networking is crucial. If you're not putting yourself out there and 'advertising' your skills and talents, no one is going to come looking for you...Unless, you're so well known in your industry (for the right reasons) that people are falling over each other to get you. If that's the case then why are you reading this!
5/ If you're looking for full time work... consider accepting a part time position if it's offered. Once an employer gets to know you and sees that you can do the job well, they're more likely to take you on full time when a vacancy opens up. Simply being there at the right time will increase your chances of being offered the job.
6/ You might want to look outside your immediate area of expertise and location. Maybe more people are being laid off in your industry than are being taken on at the moment. So apply for other kinds of jobs. Look further afield than just your local job market. The internet is a great place to start.
7/ Alternatively, think outside the box. If you've been unemployed for some time why not consider working for yourself. As an individual you might be able to offer a service at a cheaper rate than a big company can.
Or if you have a passion for something...start your own business. And if setting up a shop sounds daunting, look into setting up a business online. These days you can set up a website for next to nothing. You don't have to know how to write complicated code. There are several great programs out there that provide excellent templates to get you started. All you need is an idea and a bit of effort to get up and running. More people are looking at working from home these days than ever before.
And last but not least... never give up. If you persist long enough something will open up. It may not always be what you had in mind. But by networking and continually trying different avenues, you will find something that gets you earning again.
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