On the heels of the recent 60 Minutes unemployment piece, I thought it would be apropos to write a blog to help people with some timely career and résumé tips to help you minimize the stigma associated with being unemployed.
- Tip #1: If you have been unemployed for an extended period of time, your résumé is going to reveal that gap. In an effort to showcase your strengths and highlight your inner work-a-holic, consider using a hybrid style. Create a career highlights section toward the top of your résumé to showcase your successes from multiple positions. That information will serve as your hook and quickly show the reader that you can deliver in a professional environment.
- Tip #2: What are you doing during your spare time? Just because you are unemployed does not mean that you are sitting around. No doubt some of your time is being spent networking and applying for relevant jobs. Consider volunteering for a worthy cause. You can use this information to beef up your résumé. Just because it’s volunteer does not mean it’s not work.
- Tip #3: There are many people out there that have been out of work for a very long time. If you are in a situation where a year or more has passed, it is time to explore options like part-time work or an hourly position to generate some income as you simultaneously continue your search for work in your chosen field. You can add that experience to the résumé. You also never know when that employment situation will lead to a different path.
- Tip #4: Use your cover letter! A cover letter should always accompany your résumé; and the great part is that you can tell something of your ‘story’ in the letter. The cover is not a place to share your hardship – rather use it to provide clear details about what you offer, your work ethic, and how your past experience will add value in a new environment. It is perfectly acceptable to reference your situation in the cover – not in a desperate way, but more to demonstrate your commitment and perseverance during a trying economic situation.
- Tip #5: Consider an online résumé to help you stand out. One such tool called VisualCV (VisualCV.com) is an ideal place to let ‘pictures tell 1000 words’. With VisualCV, you can link to your Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIN profiles. You can also put charts, graphs, presentations, videos, and just about any other type of thing you can think of to help you stand out from the crowd. Just make sure they are professional – not personal. It will allow you to provide key information about how your skills and experiences can solve a company’s most pressing business challenges. This is just another way to help you stand out from the sea of job seekers.
Keep your ear to the ground, maintain knowledge of your industry through online sources and trade publications. You never know when your efforts will open just the right door.