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For most people losing a job is a devastating experience. Not finding one right away is even more discouraging, but the sooner you get started looking and the more dedicated you are, the more likely your search will be a positive experience.
The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) is the largest HR association in the world, with more than 275,000 members. Our members, HR professionals in organizations representing all sizes and industries, recognize that as a result of the years-long economic downturn, an unprecedented number of Americans have been unemployed for six months or more.
We are educating our members on how to review their organization’s hiring procedures to ensure they do not intentionally or inadvertently give less consideration to certain job candidates based solely on their unemployment status. Nevertheless, having a resume with gaps in work history can pose a challenge for the job seeker. This challenge is not insurmountable, and SHRM members offer the following advice to help you, as a job seeker, put your best foot forward.
Step 1: Approach your job search as though it WERE your job
If you are feeling stuck, seek out groups of people who are in the same situation. Many community centers, religious entities and other organizations host meetings for job seekers. It may help you to discuss your efforts with others.
Step 2: Stay active by engaging in productive activities
Find activities to show that you are still engaged in your community and focused on gaining skills and qualifications. Activities also fill time on your resume, showing employers that you haven’t been stagnant since you left your previous position.
Personal Development or Professional Development
Development Through Volunteer Engagement
Volunteering can involve much more than planting trees and painting buildings; it’s also a great way to learn new skills. You can design a website, organize an event, write letters on behalf of the organization or have any variety of other responsibilities.
Step 3: Update and revise your resume
Step 4: Network, network, network
Networking is still the most effective way to find out about jobs. Prepare your “elevator speech,” in which you describe your skills and career goals in two minutes. Preparing ahead helps you take advantage of opportunities to talk, at a moment’s notice, with someone who may be in a position to help you.
Reach out to family, friends, neighbors and associates.
Use online sites, including LinkedIn.
Reach out to employers that interest you.
Look for local nonprofit or government organizations that can help you with your job search.
Never pay an organization to find you a job—most likely it is not a legitimate business.
Step 5: Become More Technologically Proficient
Step 6: Prepare for your future interview
Online Resources for the Job Seeker
www.shrm.org/workforcereadiness –SHRM developed this webpage to house information about workforce readiness and long-term unemployment. Information on this site can give you a better understanding of how HR professionals view these issues.
AARP resources–AARP’s job seeker page is a good place to start for anyone looking for a job, although their language is tailored for an older crowd.Resources include cover letter tips, using LinkedIn, career planning for older workers, and advice on how to start your own business.
Career One Stop– This federal government site hosts a variety of services including searches for short-term training opportunities, resume guides, and other resources with coordinating agencies. The site also has a section dedicated to people who lost their jobs, providing information on unemployment benefits, family support, and job centers in various locations.
Idealist.org – Home to over 12,000 volunteer opportunities, Idealist.org can be used to search for community-based volunteer jobs.The site allows you to search through thousands of job openings, internships, events, organizations, and over 500,000 personal member profiles.
LinkedIn Groups – The LinkedIn Groups Directory lists over 13,000 groups available to LinkedIn users.After creating a LinkedIn profile, joining groups that fit your interests is one way to stay current with relevant news and connect with like-minded professionals.
Monster.com Advice – With hundreds of articles on topics ranging from industry hiring trends, to interview tips for unemployed workers, Monster provides information on every step of the search-to-hire process.
SimplyHired.com/advice – Like Monster.com, SimplyHired provides hundreds of articles on various aspects of the job search, job trends, career advice and resume tips.
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