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Greenville Business Magazine

Long-Term Unemployment

By Kiara Streater

Co-Owner, Extraordinary Headhunters LLC

Closing a business is becoming more common due to Covid-19, which directly affects the people by leaving them jobless. It typically takes 147 days to find a new job, but now it’s getting delayed further.

Several industries have revived from pandemic attacks but still, many industries are working hard to bounce back to their workdays. So there will be stiff competition between the job seekers. Here are some steps to overcome the competition and the effects of long-term unemployment. 

Long-Term Unemployment: In layman’s terms, people unemployed for a longer time - 27 weeks or more per the Bureau of Labor Statistics - will be considered long-term unemployed. In these pandemic times, people are increasingly without a job for even more than six months. The number grew from one industry report to another.

Effects of Long-Term Unemployment

The longer people are out of a job, the more likely they are to take jobs even if they don’t match with their qualifications or previous job salary, as they need to get into a job before they exhaust their unemployment benefits. And they don’t want to be held back in the job race by the long-term unemployed tag, according to the Workplace Fairness.

There is a new term called discouraged workers. Whenever the unemployed stop looking for a new job for more than four weeks, they are considered discouraged workers, and they aren’t part of the labor force, reducing state funding for unemployment programs. The United States will be less generous in protecting discouraged workers.

People with unemployment insurance are in a better position to find a position that matches their skills. Employers have a wide range of options when picking a candidate for their opening, so candidates should keep their skills updated, especially their technology skills.

Struggles of the long-term unemployed

The job search can be compared to a black hole, as most employers won’t respond to the applications. Even a rejection would hurt less than no response for an application. Being jobless for a long time gives rise to embarrassment, humiliation and often shame. The unemployed may isolate themselves with despair and disbelief. Isolation is hard to overcome, yet it’s possible with the support of family and friends.

Despite the pandemic, some employers believe that if you’re jobless for a long time, then there must be something wrong with you. So it’s better to state in your resume how you have utilized the time of being unemployed. Using the time in productive ways is crucial not only to your profession but also to your life. It can be as simple as updating a website for a charity, spending time with people in retirement homes or orphanages, starting a blog of your interest or providing your area of expertise for a concessional price.

Things to do while out of work for a long time:

Check your unemployment benefits and how soon they are going to expire. Or if you have already exhausted the benefits, then you can seek a 13-week extension of federal unemployment insurance. Also, check with your state for programs that keep you solvent until you find a new job.

Career-related advice is provided by many organizations. The labor department also runs career-related advice and training programs. By taking part in them, you can find ways to develop your career. Also, check with your college, as they often conduct such programs. 

Learn a skill - big or small, related to your field or not. This will not only keep your time occupied, but also helps to fill the void in your resume. You could take a course, volunteer with a local non-profit organization, do some gig work, or find a bridge / seasonal job. 

The resume is the introduction letter for a job interview, so it’s good to keep it up-to-date. The tone of the resume must engage the interviewer by providing reasons for any layoff or switching industries. Further highlight any skills that might open doors for other positions, too. Even adding a gig job would elevate the employer/interviewer’s impression of you.

The interviewer may ask about your unemployment days, which isn’t to aggravate you but to know about your attitude - so prepare for it. Try to provide an honest reply in a professional manner.