We often hear from job seekers: “If I have the necessary skills and experience, why am I not hearing back from more companies?”
It’s a fair question, especially for the more than five million workers who’ve been unemployed for six months or longer (more than 40 percent of all unemployed job seekers). Struggling to get a foot in the door doesn’t mean this group is unqualified or lacks what it takes to do the job. With hundreds of applications submitted for a single open position, it’s indicative of a fiercely competitive labor market.
So how does someone who’s among the long-term unemployed stand out? Will employers even look past their employment gap — the time that’s elapsed since their last day on the job?
New research from CareerBuilder found that 85 percent of hiring managers and human resource managers are more understanding of employment gaps now than they were pre-recession. While that’s refreshing news, it comes with an important caveat: This group still needs to go another step to draw attention to their resumes.
- 61 percent said taking a class or going back to school is a great start
- Sixty percent of hiring managers said volunteering increases the candidate’s marketability
- Fewer employers felt that the ambitious task of starting your own business (28 percent) or writing a professional blog (11 percent) were good ways to improve your marketability
- There are two job search tactics that are vastly underutilized: follow-through and presenting customized ideas to your prospective employer.