We all know times are tough and the employment market is as competitive as it ever has been so everybody is in the same boat and finding it difficult to land a new job. Employers know this and few will hold this gap in your employment history against you. In fact, if you’re interviewing and an employer is overly critical of this period of unemployment, you have to wonder if it’s the type of company and environment you wish to work in!
If the issue is raised at interview, be direct. Offer a concise explanation of the difficulties you have encountered looking to secure a new position. Employers should understand that the nature of the market and often job hunters out weighs the number of job opportunities; they are probably interviewing a ton of people for each open position. What they won’t understand is if you don’t take any steps to take in touch with your industry and improve your skill set during those months.
In order to stand out from the crowd do the following during this period of unemployment:
What ever your industry there are people who will talk to you about what’s going on. It is imperative you to keep up to date with news of company mergers, key industry promotions and major deals in the pipeline. Keep in touch with former colleagues, continue to network within your industry and find groups of industry people to discuss things with. Utilise the web, visit at sites like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn for online communities of like-minded individuals who can share information with you and give you tips on where there might be job opportunities.
You can fill that empty space on your CV even if you are out of work. Find a volunteer opportunity that either makes use of your skills or teaches you new ones–or both!
Study/Keep Skills up to dateI know not everyone is financially capable of this, but it’s not impossible! For technical professions this is a must as skills can become dated in no time at all. If it’s not financially feasible, at the very least read the latest books and industry journals. The idea is to keep your finger on the pulse and know what’s going on in much the same way networking with colleagues. If you can demonstrate knowledge of some of the latest studies or major events in your interview, you show that you still view yourself as part of the community and are ready to jump back in with no delay.
Ultimately employers are looking for solutions and not problems. They are looking for pro-active achievers who are going to move the company forward once we emerge from today’s recession. They understand unemployment can be beyond your control, but they want someone who isn’t defeated by it.
I’d like to here your views if you’ve been in this position and how you handled the situation. Fell free to contact us about this or any of our other postings firstname.lastname@example.org