Compared to searching for a job while employed, job-hunting while unemployed can be a challenging experience. However, there are some things you can do to help yourself if you ever find yourself in that situation.
For one, you can take advantage of some activities that can position you properly for your next role. One such is practising for interviews and how to explain the gaps in your career if any.
Another is attending online courses that can expand your skill set as well as engage in professional networking.
Highlighted below are more of the steps you can take.
Do not hide your unemployment status
According to career coaches, you do not need to conceal your unemployment from a potential employer. Be honest about your gaps in employment. It could have been out of your control, such as losing your job due to budget cuts or organizational restructuring.
If, however, you were fired due to poor performance, you have to think about how you want to discuss that.
Employers have improved their tolerance for applicants who have lost their jobs over the past few years. Hiring managers are not likely to belittle applicants who are unemployed at the moment, whether it be because of the pandemic or the economy, which has contributed to widespread layoffs.
If you were terminated from a position due to performance or other issues, think of what you should say.
Some job seekers may have stopped working for personal reasons, such as having children. If that is your situation, you must create a narrative for why time was taken off as you prepare to re-enter the workforce. Before the interview, you must explain why you took a break, how you spent your time, and what new skills you learned. Hiring managers sometimes find it admirable that the candidate took the risk and spent intentional time developing themselves.
Build your skillset
Utilize your free time to expand your skill set so that you can demonstrate initiative to a potential employer. Employers must notice your development, regardless of your unemployment status. Even employment cannot fully reveal your professionalism, but how you make the most of a season of unemployment can. Have you taken courses, networked or consulted a career coach?
You can endeavour to learn about a variety of subjects from cultural competency to lead emotional intelligence through the courses such as those provided by LinkedIn Learning, Udemy and other online platforms. Each course you have successfully finished can be placed on your profile and resume, demonstrating your desire to go above and beyond.
Focus on Networking
Make networking like a part-time job by taking advantage of connecting with other professionals in related fields as you use online courses.
Lean on your networks, and reach out to them for a catch-up if you know someone who works for the company or professional group you’re interested in. LinkedIn is a good resource for finding out which members of your network are connected to potential employers.
Engage former coworkers, outline the roles you’re seeking, and directly inquire about any openings you’re interested in.
Developing your network will help you locate new job openings and produce better outcomes than submitting resumes. The more eyes you do, the more people are aware of your interests and skills. You can even endeavour to ask former coworkers whether they would be willing to recommend you on LinkedIn as an added advantage.
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