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Avoiding “Unemployment Discrimination”

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
  • Volunteer
  • Mentor
  • Intern
  • Coach
  • Teach
  • Consult
  • Freelance

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!

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Tell us: What are you doing to sharpen your skills and gain new achievements while looking for a job?

2 Comments

  1. Chris Walker
    Posted February 23, 2011 at 8:38 am | Permalink

    Job seekers need to understand that what they are involved in is not a hiring process; it’s an elimination process. 500 applications for one job means 499 times more eliminatng than hiring. We all become very good at things we do a lot of, so HR is really, really good at eliminating people. They have to be. If the only positions you pursue are the prominently posted ones, you’re only playing the elimination game, and that’s a hard one to win.

  2. Posted February 23, 2011 at 9:00 am | Permalink

    Very true. That’s why advertised jobs are the toughest route to finding employment. More on how submitting your resume without connections is like cold calling and how connections make it much more likely you will be noticed: http://blog.jobfully.com/2011/02/job-search-sales-process/

    Thanks for the comment!

    Carrie

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