By Tim Klepaczyk
An important task for the long-term unemployed is staying relevant. If you’re out of work longer than a year you’ll eventually start hearing comments – “can’t get you an interview because of no recent experience”. This can be extremely frustrating, especially as you get older. A common initial reaction is incredulity – how can years of experience be dismissed so quickly by some potential employers?
Remember the Hiring Manager’s perspective. There are usually other candidates without an extended out-of-work period. All other things being equal, one can hardly blame the Hiring Manager for going with the other candidate. It’s a harsh reality, but at least somewhat understandable.
To avoid this problem there are some things you can do to stay relevant.
1) Write a blog and/or post to your LinkedIn groups. Obviously that’s one reason I’m writing this blog. Even if few people read it you can direct a potential employer to your blog to show one way you’re being productive while you are in transition.
2) Volunteer. In some fields this is particularly helpful. It’s possible to gain experience in tasks that will be important in your next paid position.
3) Read trade literature. This is essential for technical professionals. One can even to some degree combine 2 & 3 by volunteering for a technical professional organization, which often has reduced annual fees for members who are in transition. Volunteering at your professional organization’s local trade shows is also a great way to expand your networking opportunities.
4) Get a certification or do some other training, including free on-line courses such as Coursera. Certifications can be costly, so check out WIA grants to defray that. This is obviously not a concern for free courses, but that does not mean such courses are less worthwhile. Many have top-notch professors.
Tim Klepaczyk is an RF & microwave engineer with over 20 years of experience in applications & sales and product design & validation. He also loves writing.
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