How to Get a Job If You Have Been Out of Work for a While


What can I do if I’ve been unemployed for an extended period of time? – Justin, from Irving, TX


Dear Justin,

It’s tough to be out of work; it is tougher to be out of work for a long time. At first you might think, “I’ve been working hard. I’m going to take a break.” But before you know it, the “break” becomes months – and no job, no leads – not even jobs you would have turned down just a few months earlier. So, what do you do now?

Here are three things that can help you get back in the game!

Create a daily job search schedule. Getting a job is work. Stick to a daily schedule. Spend some time evaluating your skills, the needs of local employers, and how you can make yourself more marketable. Ask yourself:

  • What skills do I have that businesses want? Spend some time reflecting on this. Do your skills match up with what’s in demand? To help you define your skill sets, try the tools on or
  • What kinds of businesses in my area are growing? After you’ve identified them, visit to learn about the skills required for positions in those fields. Explore ways to gain in-demand skills – for example, enroll in a local community college to obtain short- or long-term certifications.

Take a job. You can move up from there. Consider a short-term work assignment. As the economy finds its footing again, employers need work done, but are still hesitant to bring on new employees. They turn to staffing agencies to fill short-term needs. How can that help you? A short-term position exposes you to lots of different types of work and rebuilds your work history.

Staffing companies may provide short-term, occupation-specific training options that help you to build you skills.

Volunteer. While you’re making a difference in your community, you can build your confidence and connect with more people. Volunteer work is a great way to get back in the game, learn new skills, build your networks and develop a recent work reference.  Search for local volunteer opportunities on sites like and

And don’t forget — if you need help getting back in the game, get in touch with your local Goodwill. Career counselors and job search experts can help you make the connections you need to get back on the path to work again.

Locate Your Nearest Goodwill