Though long-term unemployment can be dispiriting, finding a good position is not only possible, but likely by applying some tried-and-true methods:
Spend your downtime well—Volunteer for a non-paying position that makes use of your education and experience and may even add to your skills. If you are a paralegal, offer your services at the local courthouse or hone your sales skills by fundraising for your favorite charity or make use of your legal training by doing pro-bono work. Attorneys may check this site:
CorporateProBono.Org is a national initiative of the American Corporate Counsel Association and the Pro Bono Institute at Georgetown University Law Center. The web site, sponsored by numerous foundation and corporate funders, plays “matchmaker” by giving qualified nonprofits the opportunity to create a listing for their organization, which can then be searched and viewed by lawyers looking to volunteer their services. Volunteer lawyers can post their expertise and availability and there is a library of resources tailored to meet their needs.
You’ll need to explain the gap in your resume and volunteer is a way to keep your skills sharp while covering the fact you have been out of work for a period.
Sending out more resumes won’t work—Frustration can get the better of you when you have faced weeks of unemployment and you may find yourself employing the scattershot approach—sending out resumes to any job listing, no matter how remotely it matches your skills or interest. Instead of joining the piles of resume every new job opening seems to generate, narrow your search and focus it into applying for only those positions fro which you are qualified and for which you stand a reasonalbe chance for success and sve your energy for more effective job search opportunities.
Reach out to people—Isolation is often a problem when one is without work for weeks or even months. A “what’s the point” attitude may take hold and you might convince yourself that spending an hour a day sending out yet more resumes means you are actively looking for work, but don’t listen to your own siren song. Get up, get dressed and get out—to Chamber of Commerce events, Bar Association meetings, networking events in your industry and meet everyone you can meet. Often your next job will be gotten from a reference from a colleague.
Ask for help—Carefully-chosen executive search firms (those in your specific industry) have a long reach and a full-to-brusting database of clients, all looking for candidates, like you. Many of these opportunties are never even listed on job sitesand career boards. Call and ask to meet with one of the recruiters. Sending in an unsoliciteated resume will make you a candidate to a search firm—a persoanl interview will get you listed as “active talent” and your new recturiter will actively try to match your skills and experience to their client with an open position.
Keep your chin up—Taking a day off to visit a museum or catch a movie can be refreshing for the spirit (which has taken a hit every day that you have been unemployed.) Make a pact with yourself to not check your email for a few hours and try to stay in the moment (and not give in to the constant drumbeat of worry that long-term unemployment produces.) You’ll come back to the fray with more energy and less negaticvism—two traits that will prove beneficial to your job search. Remember, with every day that passes, you are one day closer to your new job.