Sell your unemployment on a resumé
By Maria Rainier
Today’s economic hardships are no secret. With the ever-looming threat of a crashing economy, a steady national unemployment rate, and national and personal debt at an all-time high, recent graduates and the unemployed are not instilled with much confidence for their job hunt.
The job market is a more competitive arena today than it has been in a good long while. Newbie grads saddled with climbing student debt are met with employer requests for “more experience,” while veteran job-seekers are challenged by younger competition with lower asking rates.
That said, there are many employment strategies that job-seekers of every professional stripe can utilize for a better chance at success.
As many Goodwill clients know, periods of unemployment can be extremely challenging from both a personal and professional standpoint. Unfortunately, long periods of unemployment can reflect badly on a resumé and become a turn-off for potential employers. One of the best things a job candidate can do to improve his or her prospects is demonstrate positive personal and professional growth outside of employment. Consider these three strategies to better sell your unemployment on a resumé:
It is essential that you remain active during your unemployment both for your own sake and for the sake of your resumé. Employers are looking for individuals who are passionate and proactive about their professional lives. In between interviews and job-searching, consider seeking volunteer opportunities in your area of interest.
Volunteering is a wonderful way to occupy your time during unemployment, make some useful professional connections and supplement your resumé. While any sort of volunteering is a positive thing, finding a volunteer opportunity in the area of industry that you seek employment is best. Goodwill has a number of volunteer opportunities for those looking to work in areas as diverse as retail, marketing, design and executive leadership, to name a few. Check them out here to see if they’re right for you.
Discuss this volunteer experience during interviews and on your resumé if it applies to the position at hand. Make contact with individuals running the volunteer program and those active in the program. Today, successful job searches often come down to diligent professional networking.
Expand your education
As online education and degree programs become more and more popular, other platforms for online learning have quickly emerged as well. The concept of free, accessible education has become widely accepted among many of the top universities in the nation. Open courseware opportunities can be wonderful resources for job-seekers looking to add to their resumé during a period of unemployment.
Open courseware opportunities are available at institutions for higher learning like Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Stanford School of Engineering, the University of Notre Dame and many more. Where adding a second degree or new focus to your education can be extremely pricey and time consuming, these classes are completely free and completed at your own speed. Complete classes during your period of unemployment that can add to your professional expertise or that can add a new skill-set to your resumé.
Goodwill offers skills-building training programs — including digital literacy classes and a trucking academy — to help participants develop the knowledge and abilities necessary to thrive in a competitive job market and enhance placement opportunities with employers.
Seek an internship
While finding a paid internship in the field you desire can be as difficult as finding permanent employment in today’s job market, internships should not be discredited by the unemployed.
Look for internship opportunities that are (ideally) paid, but don’t ignore unpaid opportunities either. Experience is one of the most marketable attributes on a resumé. Internships can provide young job hunters with that needed professional experience in a shorter amount of time. Even unpaid internships can be wonderful tools for improving a resumé and making important professional connections.
Employers seek candidates who are passionate about their field. Unpaid and temporary positions in a specific area of industry demonstrate a real interest and passion for that area of work.
Maria Rainier makes her living as a freelance blogger. An avid follower of the latest trends in technology and education, Maria believes that online degrees and online universities are the future of higher learning. Please share your comments with her.