This post was motivated by readers from my last post who were looking for deeper reasons why they are struggling with their job search. While many where appreciative of the simple reminders, the savvy job seekers were like, “Tell me something I don't know.” Perhaps your resume as been reviewed and revised many times over; you've gotten interviews, but have yet to be selected; attended career fairs, but came up empty. Well here’s something you can chew on.
You've been stigmatized by long-term unemployment.
According to the Department of Labor, job seekers who have been unemployed for 27 weeks or more are considered to be long-term unemployed. However, the concerns with gaps in one’s employment history happen before that. This is a serious national issue, but while Congress tries to figure out how to remedy it, millions are without work. The quickest way to move from unemployment is through self-employment. Consider hiring yourself; consult, sell, serve, direct, rebuild, or create something new. This may be the perfect time to explore business opportunities. And yes, please add it to your resume! Any work experience counts.
Your online presence does not speak well of you.
Have you goggled yourself lately? Really, type your name and see what comes up. Examine all your profile and cover photos for any social media network that you’re on because most of them are public. Would you hire you? Perhaps, nothing comes up and depending on your industry of interest that may not be a good look either. Maybe you have a popular name like “Michael Jordan” and you are not really worried about what someone may find. Whatever the case, I recommend that you provide employers with a link on your resume that shows specific information about who you are as a professional, such as one that leads to your LinkedIn profile or online portfolio.
You lack a quality network or haven’t used it effectively.
I find that people who are well connected and who cultivate their network stay employed or bounce back from unemployment quickly. Who do you know in your industry of interest? When’s that last time you made a new friend? It might be time for you to reconnect with others or reach out to communities in your area or virtually online. Perhaps you may need to consider relocation and reaching out to those in areas with opportunities.
You share too much information with employers.
What are you saying during the interview or including on your resume or cover letter that may be a red flag for employers? They don’t need to know whether you’re married or have children, don’t have a car (unless it required to perform the job), that you have many doctor’s visits, what you hated about your last job, specifically why you left a position, and what happened that one time at band camp. I've personally seen resumes and cover letters that divulged information that made the job seeker look like too much trouble to deal with. Do not act as your own barrier to employment; focus on sharing information regarding your skills, knowledge, and experience that may benefit the employer.
You've lost your confidence and it shows.
The lack of employment can bruise your ego. I know what it feels like personally, but you have to remember that your talent hasn't been taken away from you and you still have something valuable to offer to the world. Of course you don’t want to appear arrogant, but most certainly appear to be sure of yourself and not at the mercy of the employer. Remember, employers are seeking to hire the best candidates. Walk into an interview believing, “if you don’t hire me, someone else will.”
Whatever your struggle may be, reach out for help, remain persistent, and maintain a positive attitude. Remember you are talented and valuable with or without a job title.