Are employers discriminating by refusing to consider unemployed people for open positions? It’s unclear whether this practice is illegal and how widespread it may be. It does happen and it’s important to understand why.
Employers are trying to hire the best and brightest people with the sharpest, most up to date skills. All things being equal, they are likely to favor an applicant with recent experience over one who has been off the job for some time. If you were looking for someone to repair your computer, would you pick someone who fixed a similar machine last week, or someone who hasn’t fixed a computer in 18 months? Recent experience is often viewed as more relevant and valuable than distant experience.
This does not mean that the unemployed are doomed and can’t get back to work. It means they need to work very hard to demonstrate new achievements, ever growing knowledge and fresh skills.
- Take classes
- Get a degree or new certification
Demonstrate you are keeping up, not stagnating. Pay attention to your online presence and make sure it is up-to-date, highlighting your expertise. When you are interviewing for a job, you are likely to be asked “What have you been doing since you left your last job?” Make sure you have an answer that shows you are using this time well in order to bring even greater results to your next employer.
Don’t get mad. Get busy!
- Productive Ways to Fill Resume Gaps
- Overcoming Long-Term Unemployment
- Answering “What have you been doing since your last job?”
- Answering “Why did you leave your last job?”
- When the Ad Says “Unemployed Need Not Apply”
Tell us: What are you doing to sharpen your skills and gain new achievements while looking for a job?