Unemployed 6 months or longer? Now what?

Have you been unemployed 6 months or longer?  Now what?

According to recent articles, some companies are not hiring unemployed candidates.

“WASHINGTON If you lose your job these days, it’s worth scrambling to find a new one fast. After six months of unemployment, your chances of landing work dwindle.

“The proportion of people jobless for six months or more has accelerated in the past year and now makes up 46 percent of the unemployed. That’s the highest percentage on records dating to 1948. By late summer or early fall, they are expected to make up half of all jobless Americans.

“Economists say those out of work for six months or more risk becoming less and less employable. Their skills can erode, their confidence falter, their contacts dry up.”

Source: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/06/05/long-term-unemployment-growing_n_601930.html

Not hiring an unemployed candidate is not illegal, but a form of silent prejudice, just as insidious as age or sex discrimination, or choosing not to hire a candidate with a disability who is capable of doing the job.  The point of the interview process and reference checks is to determine a candidate’s ability to perform in a position.

It could be that some companies are so inundated with candidates for any given opening that “current employment” is now another qualification weeding tool, along with college degree and on target salary.

Considering it can take a month (or more) of job search for every $10,000 you’d like to earn, what should you do to show current activity on your résumé if you’re unemployed or a recent college graduate?

The key is to justify time out of the traditional work force at the top of your résumé under Professional Experience.  This can include:

  • Consulting, contract, or temporary projects
  • Your own business.  Regardless of the ultimate financial success of the business, you will gain a multitude of new skills and experiences.
  • Volunteer work.  Every professional association seeks volunteers.  Raise your hand and show up to make new connections in your industry.
  • Highlighting time for travel, elder or child care, or other personal concerns.
  • Continuing your education to maintain your competitive edge.

Management of your personal brand in today’s economy means that your résumé is always current.

Easy Ways to Self Promote at Your Office

Tanya, a senior female executive in a largely male corporate environment, said that it was not unusual for her boss to take credit for her projects and successes.

How can you best self promote, especially if you don’t like talking about yourself or if patting yourself on the back is not part of the corporate culture?

First, know that others really are interested in what you’ve done and what makes you special. And no one knows how wonderful and accomplished you areunless you tell them.

It’s important to let others, including managers, colleagues, support staff, clients, and vendors, know of your achievements. When asked what’s new, share news of your successes and give others something positive to say about you when you’re absent. Let your reputation stand for solid success.
An easy way to self promote is to be aware of what others say and do in your company and department. Follow their lead. See what techniques and tactics others use to spread the word about their accomplishments. Do your managers and peers embed their successes into casual conversations, participate actively in meetings, or do email blasts?

Accomplishments are not always tied to the sales department. Accomplishments can include organizing a successful meeting or holiday party, implementing a new software that saves the company time and money, participating in a volunteer activity, or making it back quickly from a business trip to Europe when other people were grounded for volcanic eruption.

Self promoting can be as simple as maintaining a list of achievements since your last performance review. Document regularly the activities that everyone takes for granted and those that are beyond your job description. Pull out the list when it’s time to negotiate your next raise.

And if you’re looking for a job, social networking sites, especially LinkedIn with its link to Twitter and a personal blog, are excellent places to stay top of mind for those in your extended network.

During an interview, be sure to discuss your successes and what makes you unique. Tie your personal successes back to show how past achievements are indicators of future performance. Discuss how you can make your new manager and new company successful.

And back to our executive: Ultimately over the course of several months Tanya deliberately embedded stories and tidbits relating to her background and accomplishments into executive conference calls, as well as conversations with management and peers. The result? Tanya has been elevated to a new position with increased responsibility and visibility and is headed to a far superior situation at the organization.