Unemployment is a real problem that can strike at any time, and no one is immune. While being between jobs for a short period can be challenging, long-term unemployment comes with far greater socio-economic and psychological pitfalls.
The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development defines long-term unemployment as a period of continued unemployment lasting for a year or more.
Such periods can lead to depression and stigmatisation by employers, which can make it more difficult to get back into the workplace.
With the current volatile state of the world’s economy, businesses are being forced to change how they operate. This involves widespread layoffs in many cases, so it is more important than ever to know how to overcome long-term unemployment.
No plan can guarantee a 100% success rate, but there are valuable tips you can use.
1. Recognise your worth
No matter why your company let you go, when it happens your confidence and sense of self-worth will be affected. Remember that you are much more than just a job and recognise all your achievements in other areas of life.
If you are happy with who you are, you will feel more competent and project that impression to others and yourself.
Constantly doubting your abilities can become a self-fulfilling prophecy, where you do not even apply for suitable positions because you’re sure you aren’t qualified.
2. Use your time meaningfully
This means dedicating time and resources to personal and professional growth, making you a much stronger candidate for any future job prospects.
Take the time to understand why you were let go and if there are any changes or improvements you can make.
The changes might be in your skillset or the way you conduct yourself at work. Do this without being overly critical as the exercise is meant to be constructive and not damaging to your self-confidence.
Taking additional courses, volunteering and doing other proactive work can help improve your résumé. You will be adding to your qualifications and proving your resilience, which are very attractive traits for employers.
Also improve your job search toolkit with employment reference letters that highlight what a valuable asset you could be. Being confined to your home might change the way you go about these tasks, but it’s still possible.
Find high-quality online courses, write blogs on your areas of interest and give opinions to individuals and groups in need of expert advice. This will help get and keep your name in the public eye.
3. Network, network, network
This leads to better contacts and increases your employment opportunities. Build and develop individual relationships with leaders in your field and join as many relevant groups and organisations as you can.
If you really respect a certain company president follow their social media pages and make meaningful comments on their posts.
If you raise intelligent and accurate points, you’re likely to get their attention and make a favourable impression. From there, you can reach out and build a more personal connection with them.
Participating in online discussions with others in your field can also help foster connections and make would-be employers more aware of you. You will also know of any new developments in your industry and hear about more job openings.
4. Look and act like you already have the job
When you interact with anyone in your field, exude competence and confidence. To project this image during interviews, dress and behave as if you’re already doing the job.
Wear professional attire, and carefully consider how you phrase any correspondence with a company. If you meet in person, carry yourself well. If you’re meeting online, as current circumstances dictate, sit calmly and maintain eye contact during the interview.
You should also be ready to answer tough questions. In addition to knowing all about the role, have answers ready for why you left your last employer and what you’ve been doing with your time.
Often, interviewers will comment that you’re overqualified and query why you’re applying for the position.
If this happens, be honest, but also explain why you’re enthusiastic about the company and why they’d be lucky to have you. Essentially, the more desperate you seem, the less likely you’ll get the job.
5. Consider launching your own business
If you have a good idea for a small business, an unpromising job market can be a blessing in disguise. But start small and do as much research as possible.
As you keep searching and applying for other positions, you could offer some freelance consulting or make and sell limited products from your home.
Running your own company is difficult and you should expect challenges. The key issue is that you learn from all of them, allowing you to continue with the business if that is what you decide to do.
This article first appeared in jobstore.com
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