CNN.com posted an article titled “In the job hunt, the stigma of being laid off is hard to erase”. In it, Stephanie Chen, writes:
“As if securing work in a jobless recovery isn’t tricky enough, being labeled unemployed brings additional obstacles.”
I was privileged to be interviewed by Stephanie for this article and quoted briefly:
“Many companies will consider hiring jobless applicants, said Harry Urschel, an independent recruiter at e-Executives for more than two decades. He thinks many employers have become more understanding because job cuts are so widespread.”
While I can attest to the fact that there are some companies that do look more critically at candidates that are unemployed, I can also say…
That there are many others that view this time in the market as an opportunity to pick talent that might otherwise be hard to attract.
Can being unemployed be an obstacle? Certainly. Just as being “too old” can be an obstacle, being “too young”, having had too many jobs, having worked at one job too long, being a minority, not being a minority, being over-qualified, being under-qualified, being under-educated, being over-educated… and on and on. Depending on the organization, and the individual looking at your background, any of those factors may be an issue… or none of them might be. Regardless of professional background, or personal circumstances, anyone can find external reasons they are not getting the calls and job offers they are hoping for. My experience tells me that people are usually not selected for jobs for different reasons than they think. It’s usually easier to believe a bias than the reality of the situation.
Your objective in pursuing any opportunity is to show you are the best person for the job… despite any perceived shortcomings. As I’ve written about before… “For every person that says they can’t get a job because of a particular challenge, there is someone else with the same situation that did get a job.” It may take some additional thought, persistence, or creative approach, however, virtually any objection can be overcome when handled appropriately. Everyone can find some reason that is hindering their job hunt if they look hard enough. Don’t focus on why you may not be considered, focus on the unique value you bring to the potential employer!
In this market, when employers are receiving dozens, or hundreds of applicants for every opening, it’s not good enough to submit an application online, or send an email, and wait for a call. That’s all the vast majority of applicants do, and it does nothing to distinguish you from all the others. Even if you’re a “perfect” fit, it’s difficult for your resume to be noticed among the sea of others. Taking extra initiative to find a contact at the organization, proactively call and reach out in additional ways is the only way to stand out from the crowd.
If you’re not getting calls from your applications, it’s likely that it has nothing to do with the fact that you’re unemployed, or “too old”, or under-qualified, or anything else. It’s more likely that you are just getting lost in the crowd.
Apply some more effort to get noticed and you will make far greater progress in your job hunt!
Harry Urschel has over 20 years experience as a technology recruiter in Minnesota. He currently operates as e-Executives, writes a blog for Job Seekers called The Wise Job Search, and can be found on Twitter as @eExecutives.