Job Hunting After Long-Term Unemployment
If you’re struggling with coming out of long-term unemployment as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, you’re not alone. Many have been unemployed for so long that re-entering the job market is a daunting prospect.
But it’s also an exciting opportunity! In fact, the latest data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor shows that now is the optimal time to explore new job opportunities: job growth is widespread across all industries. We are on the front-end of a large portion of people who have been unemployed reentering the job market, so there has never been a better time to jump in and start your job search.
Competition in the job market is about to get fierce, as more and more people start entering the search every day. Whether you’re trying to find something similar to what you did prior to the pandemic, or are ready to start an entirely new chapter in your career, it’s time to start preparing the job search, the interview process, and starting a new role.
Start Networking.Whether you are trying to stay virtual or starting to go out in public, networking should be high on your priority list in preparing for your next career move. You need to let people know you're open to opportunities and are actively hunting for a job. Working those connections, as well as creating new ones, will help you find new and exciting opportunities faster.
Update your resume. With so many people coming out of long-term unemployment, most employers will expect to see some type of gap in employment on your resume. Just because that gap is expected, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t address it. In fact, addressing it appropriately could be the difference between getting that job offer or not.
One of the best ways to address that unemployment gap is to showcase what you did during your time of employment, such as taking online courses or even learning a new hobby that relates to the job or industry you’re interested in.
Brush up on your virtual skills.There’s a good chance a large part (if not all) of the job search and interview processes will be virtual now, so it’s critical that your virtual skills are up to par. Practice speaking on the phone and know ahead of time where you get the best reception and will have a quiet background for a phone interview. If you’re interviewing via Zoom, do a test run with a friend to make sure you have a good internet connection, understand the controls, have an appropriate and neutral background, and all your equipment (like your camera and microphone) are working correctly.
Send Thank You notes. Recruiters and hiring managers are experiencing extreme pressure in this post-pandemic labor market with the responsibility of filling gaps in their workforce and creating new roles becoming a bigger and bigger task. Their time is valuable, and you will stand out exponentially by taking the time to send a thank you note (virtually or hand written) after interviewing.
The COVID-19 pandemic impacted the entire world, with employers being no exception. Gaps in employment during 2020 and 2021 will not be abnormal in the current job market, but you can make the most of your job search and insure you stand out among the increasingly large crowd with the above tips. Make the most of your time and jump into the job search now – you never know when or how things will change next.