Unemployment is a very real problem that can strike at any time, and no one is immune to it. While being between jobs for a short period can be challenging, long-term unemployment comes with far greater socio-economic and psychological pitfalls.

According to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), long-term unemployment is defined as a period of continued unemployment lasting for a year or more. Such periods can lead to personal depression and an attitude of stigmatisation among employers, both of which can make it more difficult to get back into the workplace.

With the current volatile state of the world’s economy, businesses are being forced to change many of how they operate. Part of this involves widespread layoffs in many cases, meaning it’s more important than ever to know how to overcome long-term unemployment. No plan can guarantee a 100% success rate, but there are valuable tips that have helped people to deal with this challenge effectively.

 

1. Recognise Your Worth

No matter why your company let you go, when it happens your confidence and sense of self-worth will almost certainly be affected. Remember that you are much more than just a job and recognise all your achievements in other areas of life.

If you’re happy with who you are, you’ll feel more competent and will project that impression to others and yourself. Constantly doubting your abilities can become a self-fulfilling prophecy where you don’t even apply for suitable positions because you’re sure that you won’t be qualified.

 

2. Use Your Time Meaningfully

“Use your time meaningfully” describes dedicating time and resources to personal as well as professional growth. By developing in both these areas, you’ll be a much stronger candidate for any future job prospects.

Take the time to understand why you were let go, and if there are any changes or improvements that you need to make. The changes might be in your skillset or your office persona – the way you conduct yourself at work. Do this without being overly critical; the exercise is meant to be constructive, not damaging to your self-confidence.

Taking additional courses, volunteering and doing other proactive work can also help to improve your resumé. You’ll be adding to your qualifications and proving your resilience, both of which are a very attractive trait for employers. It’s also an excellent idea to improve your job search toolkit with employment reference letters that highlight to prospective employers what a valuable asset you could be.

Being confined to your home might change the way you go about these tasks, but they are still possible. Find high-quality online courses, write blogs on your areas of interest, and give opinions to individuals and groups in need of expert advice. All this will help you get and keep your name in the public eye.

 

3. Network, Network, Network

Another important aspect of making your presence known, which can lead to better contacts and increase employment opportunities, is networking. Build and develop individual relationships with leaders in your field wherever possible, and join as many relevant groups and organisations as you can.

If you really respect a certain company president follow their social media pages and make meaningful comments on their posts. As long as the points you raise are intelligent and accurate, you’re likely to get their attention and make a favourable impression. From there, you can reach out to them and build a more personal connection.

Participating in online discussions with others in your field can also help to foster connections and make would-be employers more aware of you. You will also know of any new developments in your industry and hear about more job openings.

 

4. Look and Act Like You Already Have the Job

When you interact with anyone in your field in any way, you must exude competence and confidence. To project this image during interviews, you should dress and behave as if you’re already doing the job.

Wear professional attire, and carefully consider the way you phrase any correspondence with a company. If you can meet in person, make sure you maintain a firm handshake and good posture. If you’re meeting online, as current circumstances dictate, sit calmly and maintain eye contact during the interview.

You should also expect tough questions and be ready to answer them. In addition to knowing all about the role that you’d be playing in the new company, you’ll need to have comments ready for why you left your last employer, and what you’ve been doing with your time.

Often, interviewers will comment that you’re overqualified and query why you’re applying for the position. If this happens, be honest about your situation, but also explain why you’re enthusiastic about the company and why they’d be lucky to have you. Essentially, the more desperate you seem for the position, the less likely you are to be offered it.

 

5. Consider Launching Your Own Business

If you’ve got a good idea for a small business, an unpromising job market can be a blessing in disguise. You’ll be more compelled to launch your start-up than you might be otherwise. This is not a step to take lightly, and it’s advisable to start small and do as much research as possible.

For instance, as you keep searching and applying for other positions, you could offer some freelance consulting or make and sell limited products from your home. Running your own company is difficult, and you should expect challenges along the way.

The key issue is that you learn from all of them, allowing you to continue with the business and to grow it further if that’s what you decide you want to do. Creative workplace solutions are essential in this situation, whether they’re regarding the products and services you provide, the partnerships you build, or any other aspect of running your enterprise.

Of course, knowing your own worth, using your time to develop your skills, networking and exuding confidence are as vital when creating your own company as they are when applying to another organisation. 

Cultivating these behaviours is important if you want to overcome long-term unemployment and return to the working world, regardless of the specifics of how you decide that you want to do that. By implementing these tips you’ll be an asset to any organisation that you work for, or that you start yourself.

 

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