Not too long ago, I had an in-depth conversation with an HR professional who volunteers at BJM (Between Jobs Ministry) helping job seekers who are long-term unemployed. Labor analysts define long-term unemployment as those who have been looking for work for more than a year. This HR professional emphasized the importance of networking, utilizing social networking tools and keeping skills current when searching for a job. Let me elaborate.
Continue to Network. Naturally, the longer you search for work, the likelier it is to get discouraged. You may even question the point of networking when you have not received any job offers. Keep in mind that networking is about building relationships and trust. It can’t just be about asking others, “Do you have a job?” If you feel your networking skills could improve, I recommend attending professional networking groups in your area. For instance, BJM offers Networking 101, which discusses how to best utilize your network.
Stay Connected. Many employers use social networking tools to find qualified job candidates. According to Jobvite’s 2013 Social Recruiting Survey Results, 94% of the 1,600 recruiting and HR professionals who completed the survey said that they use social networks / social media for recruiting purposes. The top three social networks for recruiting are LinkedIn (94%), Facebook (65%) and Twitter (55%). However, many job seekers are still apprehensive about using these sites. To answer your concerns about social media sites, attend our course, Making Connections.
Keep Skills Current. You may have heard that employers like to hire people who already have a job, which means you are competing with people who are currently using their skills. Yes, it’s hard to compete with that, but show prospective employers that you are just as qualified as employed candidates. Ways to demonstrate you are keeping your skills current could include reading industry-related journals, participating in competitions and taking courses in your profession. My previous blog, Live and Learn offers information about free online courses that might interest you.
To build on the tips given above, we are offering the course Beating Long-term Unemployment: Eight Things to Consider. This class might help you identify other issues affecting your job search and assist with developing solutions to your long-term unemployment dilemma.
Of course, it also helps if you have your basics covered. A well-written resume, the ability to concisely describe your qualifications, being prepared to answer typical interview questions, having knowledge of what you want and being active in your search for work are important as well.
Josie Toth is a Regional Facilitator for Workforce Solutions. She facilitates job search skills and career exploration classes in the 13-county Houston-Galveston area. She has a Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Studies and enjoys encouraging others in their pursuit of meaningful work.