Most job seekers have experienced a period of unemployment for one reason or another. Various circumstances can lead someone to go a length of time without work, such as illness, family obligations, or a layoff. Most hiring managers understand that unemployment is often a fact of life, and wouldn’t disqualify a job search candidate for that reason. But what is important is the manner in which you present your unemployment on your resume in your job search. Below are some resume suggestions for job seekers that have experienced long-term unemployment:
1) Change up the format to shift the focus off of the employment gaps in your resume
Many job seekers choose to list their employment history on their resume in a chronological, or reverse chronological, format, but it isn’t necessarily the most beneficial option for everyone. You can start with a paragraph that summarizes your skills and work achievements, followed by a list of the most relevant jobs you have had where you accomplished the most, not in any necessary order. If the employer catches some of your best attributes that make you a worthy candidate at first glance, they will probably be less concerned about your exact dates of employment and the gaps in your resume.
2) Find some freelance or part-time work
If your last full-time job ended more than a couple months ago, it’s best not to have that as the last job you had on your resume. Find a way to apply your skills in some capacity, even if it’s for little or no pay. This could mean helping a family friend with their business, doing odd jobs for senior citizens in your neighborhood, or working as an independent contractor doing sales or administrative work. Also, creating a section to include any volunteer work or personal accomplishments that took place during you period of unemployment will aid your job search.
3) Use years instead of months in work history dates
You aren’t trying to hide your unemployment in your job search; you just don’t want it to be glaring when someone first looks at your resume. If you were unemployed for several months, just list the years you worked at your last company, and do the same with all the other jobs you list on your resume. That way your accomplishments at each job will shine, instead of the period of time in between them.
4) Keep up-to-date on current industry trends and skills
Technology has our methods of doing almost anything constantly changing. Do some research to see if there are any new skills relevant to the job you are pursuing that you can brush up on. Also, make sure there isn’t any antiquated industry jargon in your resume, as that can be a red flag that you aren’t up-to-date with what is going on in your field of work.
5) Push your resume through networking
Hand out your resume to any friends, family or colleagues that could possibly introduce you to the right job opportunity. Make everyone aware that you are looking for work, and that you are open to any opportunity, even part-time.
6) Don’t let your unemployment define you
Your resume is about the work experience and achievements that you have had, not the fact that you aren’t working right now. So do your best to not even refer to the fact that you are unemployed, and instead focus on your worthiness as both a person and a worker.
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