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The LinkUp Blog The Industry's Best-Kept Secret

February 5, 2014 / Stephanie Anderson

Still unemployed? Do these 3 things to land a job!

You're hired!

In our post last week we addressed the subject of why hiring managers shouldn’t overlook unemployed candidates.  This week we’d like to address the candidates

themselves. With the president’s recent initiative working with some of the nation’s top employers to pledge to not discriminate against unemployed workers, a lot of companies will be taking a fresh look at unemployed candidates.

If you’re long-term unemployed, it might seem like a negative that overshadows every other positive on your resume. You can turn the negative connotation of unemployment into a positive that works in your benefit, but you must be proactive. Here are three simple ways to make your unemployment shine in your favor:

1. Make the most of your time away from work
Most employers will overlook the fact you’re unemployed if you can show you’re being productive with your time. Make sure you use your open time to improve your professional skills. Take a computer class, join a professional organization, go back to school, volunteer – the possibilities are practically endless. Show that even away from work you still value keeping your professional skills sharp – it proves you’re an ambitious person, plus you may have up-to-date training that other candidates may not.

2. Be honest and tell your story
Though you shouldn’t be discriminated against for your unemployment, employers are going to want to know why you have a gap in your resume. It’s important to be prepared to answer this question honestly. If your former employer downsized last year due to poor sales and you were let go, you should explain the situation. If you were with your employer for a long time prior to being laid off, make sure to highlight this longevity and any other positives from your time with the company. If you were fired due to policy violation or corrective action, it’s important to be honest since the hiring manager could contact your former employer to verify the situation. By addressing it and highlighting some very important lessons learned, you will appear honest, accountable and eager to move forward.

3. Address the benefits of your unemployment
Make sure to address the many benefits of hiring you – an unemployed person. For example, explain you are eager to start and can begin work right away, there’s no waiting period. Talk about what you’ve done with your time off to develop professionally, such as classes or volunteer work. Stress that your time off has allowed you to reassess and find your passion, and that you are more eager now than ever to work hard to grow your career.

Lastly, consider focusing your search on the companies who have pledged to help unemployed get back to work.  Large employers from Apple to Walmart have made the pledge and may be looking for someone like you!

Being unemployed should be viewed as an opportunity and not as a roadblock. If you take the proactive approach and try to remain positive, it will show through to hiring managers and soon you’ll be employed once again.