10 Ways to Find a Job Despite Long-Term Unemployment
Coleman advises job seekers to add this interim work, even if it's unpaid, to their résumés. "People may think it's not professional to list volunteer work in their résumé, but you should mention it somewhere," he says. "It shows you're industrious."
5. Let Employers Know You're in Demand
If you've been a serious contender for jobs and have received job offers that for one reason or another didn't work out, Seidel recommends subtly communicating those facts to prospective employers. "Employers like when candidates are sought after," he says.
An appropriate time to mention job offers you've had or other job opportunities you may have in the works is during a job interview, says Seidel, when the hiring manager asks you what you've been doing or if you have anything currently going on. Then, you can casually mention that you've been on several job interviews and/or had a couple of job offers that you unfortunately had to decline, he says. You might say you had to turn them down because the positions were out of state and you didn't want to relocate or because you didn't think the position was the best match.
6. Don't Appear Desperate
Never give the impression to prospective employers or to people in your network that you're desperate for a job. Desperation is not an attractive trait, especially for executives.
"When an employer calls and asks, 'Can you do something next week,' don't say, 'Sure, give me a time - the whole week's open,'" says Seidel. "Don't play hard to get, but demonstrate that you've got some things going on."
7. Make a Good First Phone Impression
If a prospective employer calls you in response to your résumé or cover letter and reaches you at home when your dog is barking or your kids are bouncing off the walls, quickly excuse yourself so that you can get to a quiet room where you can take the call, says Coleman. If you don't move to a quiet place, you risk giving the hiring manager, HR manager or recruiter the impression that you don't care enough about the opportunity to make a good first impression, he adds.
8. Be Prepared to Answer Tough Interview Questions
Hiring managers ask tougher questions of candidates who've been out of work for a year or more, says Seidel. They'll probe you on the circumstances surrounding your departure from your last job and what you've been doing since then, he says.
Such tough questions provide you with an opportunity to address an employer's concerns, provided your answers are credible and demonstrate that you're active and engaged.
Credible answers to the question of why you left your last job include:
* A new CEO came on board and he brought in a new management team.
* A merger or acquisition eliminated my position.
* Philosophical differences between you and your manager.
Bad answers express anger and spite. Some examples:
* I have no idea why I was let go.
* The CEO/My manager was incompetent.
"You need to frame your departure [from your last job] in the best possible light," says Seidel. "You need to convey that you're competent, good at what you do, have a strong legacy in terms of the work you've done in the past and have a lot of integrity."
9. Reconsider Your Options
Early on during a job search, job seekers tend to be selective about the role they want and the location they wish to stay in, says Seidel. As their unemployment wears on, he recommends they ask themselves at regular intervals (whether at six months, nine months or a year) if it's time to expand their job searches in some way.
"The single most effective thing you can do to expand the number of job opportunities is to expand your geography," says Seidel. "People engaged in national searches tend to land faster [than executives engaged in regional searches]."
Besides considering relocation, job seekers should ask themselves at the year mark about other titles they might be willing to take, slightly different roles they think they could move into, or completely new career paths they could follow.
"This is not to say you have to start a national search at a year of unemployment," says Seidel. "These are just exploratory questions you can consider if you need to give yourself a longer runway."
10. Don't Hold Out for the Perfect Job
Coleman notes that some job seekers hold out for the perfect job, which only prolongs their unemployment, and he cautions against this urge.
"Remember that your last job wasn't your perfect job forever," he says. "Maybe a job you've been offered is fine for the next few years."
Meridith Levinson covers Careers, Project Management and Outsourcing for CIO.com. Follow Meridith on Twitter @meridith. Follow everything from CIO.com on Twitter @CIOonline. Email Meridith at firstname.lastname@example.org.