Refresh Your Approach to the Job Market

Long periods of unemployment can be tough on the wallet and the psyche, yet as of March, more than 6.5 million Americans had been unemployed for 27 weeks or longer. For some, stepping outside the box and trying a new approach to the job market might boost their morale and their results. Ruth Mantell, writing for MarketWatch, recently tackled this difficult subject by offering these suggestions to revitalize a stale job search.

Network, network, network: Unfortunately, long-term unemployment can discourage job seekers, and they lose the desire to network.’But that’s exactly what you need to do in order to access some of these jobs,’ Allison O’Kelly said. ‘It’s about developing a relationship. To really know what’s available you really need to get out there and meet people and talk to them about your skills.’

Repackage yourself: The labor market is tight – there are more than five potential applicants for each job opening – and workers need to repackage themselves, and be willing to work in a new industry or function, experts said. Almost half of workers, 47 percent who were laid off in the last 12 months, found new jobs in a different field.

Build a new resume: While chronological resumes are popular, workers should also create a functional resume, which emphasizes skills and won’t highlight long-term unemployment. Carolyn McCarthy, a Duxbury, Mass., a job seeker who has been in the market for two years, has removed dates from her resume so that recruiters don’t dismiss her out of hand. ‘I have gotten more phone calls, McCarthy said.

Keep busy: Long-term job seekers should evaluate themselves by considering their strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. ‘This engages you so you are not sitting there wondering about why the phone is not ringing,’ said John McKee, founder and chief executive of BusinessSuccessCoach.net. ‘This is a good objective way to do an appraisal and give yourself direction about what you might want to build on or avoid.’

Information technology professionals are fortunate because they can transfer their skills to other industries and acquire new technical knowledge, network with other professionals and add to their resumes by attending a local boot camp, seminar or certification course, which comply with Mantell’s recommendations. Have you recently scored a new job after a lengthy period of unemployment? Did changing your approach lead to success?

Leslie Stevens-Huffman

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