Whether you’re unemployed due to a layoff, termination, or furlough, you’re not alone – as of October 2020, 11.1 million Americans were out of work, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
If you find yourself out of a job, there plenty of actions you can take to get back on your feet quickly. However, you’ll need to be patient and strategic in your hunt for employment to maximize your chances for success. That means avoiding these seven common unemployment pitfalls and job search mistakes.
One of the biggest mistakes that unemployed individuals make is being too picky in their job search. Depending on your situation, you may be holding out to find that perfect job. While this may work for some, it’s not the advisable route. Prospective employers take notice of employment gaps on your resume, so they may be cautious of hiring someone with a lengthy period of unemployment. Even if the job you find is not your dream job, it may lead to even better opportunities in the future and give your resume a boost.
Often, unemployment can lead to a complete career change – if you are open to it. However, failing to expand your horizons beyond your current industry could limit your job search. If you’re interested in making a career change, review your transferable skills and research industries where those proficiencies apply. Sometimes, unemployment can be the push you need to take a leap of faith, so keep an open mind.
Applying for jobs with an old or outdated resume is one of the biggest mistakes to avoid when unemployed. Spend ample time perfecting your resume and customizing it for each position for which you apply. Make sure your resume lists any new credentials, work experience, skills, and certifications you’ve acquired since you last searched for a job. And, if you are changing careers, don’t forget to highlight your transferable skills on your resume.
If you’re unemployed, invest time in updating your LinkedIn or professional networking page(s) just as you would with your resume. In addition, consider marketing yourself to prospective employers or recruiters on these sites. This may be as simple as turning on “I’m looking for jobs” options on the sites, making your profile public and/or searchable by employers, or going so far as to create statuses stating that you’re actively searching for employment.
Especially when the labor market is highly competitive, one of the biggest job search mistakes is failing to follow up with employers or recruiters on your applications. In some cases, showing that you care about your application and looking for an answer may make hiring managers move your resume to the top of the stack of submissions.
Job seekers know how frustrating it can be to be ghosted by an employer during the application, interviewing, and hiring process. Employers can also experience this frustration — and it leaves a bad impression. If an employer reaches out to you, respond promptly and professionally. Don’t keep them waiting – it could hurt your chances of landing a job with that organization now or in the future.
Being unemployed isn’t a fun experience by any means, but that doesn’t mean that you should spend your days feeling down about your situation. In fact, doing nothing while you’re unemployed is not only bad for your mental health, but also detrimental to your overall job search.
Consider spending your extra time volunteering at a local charity, finding freelance work, or trying your hand at a gig job. You can include these opportunities on your resume and even use them to grow your network.
Now that you know what not to do when unemployed, jumpstart your job search by exploring iHire’s 56 industry-specific talent communities.