Tips to Advance Your Career out of Long-term Unemployment

Nobody wants to be unemployed. Losing income for any period of time can be difficult to overcome, and the psychological and social effects present challenges of their own. But as anybody who’s ever been out of work can tell you, it gets harder and harder to find a job the longer you don’t have one, and it’s easy to feel like giving up.

There are 3 million long-term unemployed people in the United States—that is, people who have been unemployed for 27 weeks or longer—but the good news is that 800,000 found jobs in the past year. There are ways back to a good job, and a new handbook from Deloitte, “New Guide, New Destinations: A Handbook for Job Seekers to Navigate out of Long-Term Unemployment,” is available for free download. Here are some tips from the handbook:

  • Be ready to explain any employment gaps. Employers can be wary of people who haven’t been working for more than a month. Read more here.
  • Take action in the short term. While you look for another job that fits your needs and goals, consider part-time work or even volunteering to stay busy and working on your skills. This way, you can still be a contributor while looking for the right opportunities to stay on track.
  • Keep to your routine. By maintaining the hours and habits that you kept while working, you can stay in a productive mindset and make an easier transition into your next job.
  • Find an intermediary. You don’t have to look for a job on your own—your local Goodwill® or job center can provide assistance, or you can use virtual tools like GoodProspects® to find help.
  • Be your own best advocate. You can tell your story better than anybody—have the best résumé that you can, brush up on your interview skills and use social networks to find work and enhance your profile.
  • Make connections. Networking can be an important tool in any job search. Here are some skills that you can use.

It’s important to stay optimistic. A positive attitude and well-developed communication skills are equally  important as previous work experience when it comes to getting hired. Long-term unemployment is not easy, but it can also be an opportunity to develop new skills and find the right fit for you.