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Monday, June 6, 2011

What Have You Been Doing?

What do you do if you have been out of the workforce for a long time? Many of you have asked me this question over the last couple months.

Unfortunately, the longer you are out of work, the more difficult it becomes to secure a job. An employer could be reviewing hundreds of resumes for a single position. If an employer views a gap on a resume they are left to fill in these gaps, which usually is not to the benefit of the job seeker. You need to overcome perceptions about these gaps on your resume so you are making it through an initial screening.

I offer the following advice to the long-term unemployed performing a job search:

Fill in Your Gaps with Relevant Experience
If you volunteered, took courses, performed tasks that were associated to the job you are applying, add them to your resume. Show the employer that you were still involved in improving yourself while out of the workforce and performing tasks that are relevant to the job in which you are applying. Did you volunteer at your child's school? Were you involved in any programs within your community or church? Did you take any courses?

Create A Cover Letter
In your cover letter, briefly explain why you've been unemployed. No need to go into great detail, but you should address it. Explain what you've been doing with your 'time off' and how you've been improving your skills.

Reconnect With Your Professional Network
There may be a large number of individuals in your professional network that you have not spoken with for many months or years. It is very important to re-connect with individuals in your personal network, professional network and community to let people know you are looking for a job and define the type of job you are looking for. If people don't know you are looking how can they help you? From each existing contact in your network that you reconnect with, make a goal to get the names of two or more new contacts they know who might be able to help with your job search.

Best Wishes,

Doug Smith
Director of Product Management, Talent Exchange