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Why Long-Term Unemployment Isn’t As Bad As You Think

Here’s some good news for people who’ve long been out of work. For many years job career advisers have stated that being unemployed for more than 18 months will cause you to potentially never get a job again.  However the big gap on your resume may not be so much of an issue in seeking a new job or even career. A new study by three economists finds that while callbacks do decrease during early months of unemployment, by eight months out of the workforce, the effect levels off and more months of unemployment don’t impact your chances of getting a callback.

The findings came from a simple application process to real world jobs with fictitious resumes, these were then tracked to understand how callbacks differed according to how many months of unemployment were on each resume. The researchers scaled this test by submitting more than 13,000 resumes to well over 3,000 online job postings across various industries.

The simple result: employers called and offered an interview to seven percent of the “applicants” who had been unemployed for just one month, and that callback rate steadily dropped as unemployment lengthened, with resumes showing eight months of unemployment receiving callbacks for interviews only four percent of the time. However,  the callback rate didn’t drop much more with unemployed lengths in excess of eight months, even as the researchers extended the length of unemployment to three years.

With high unemployment areas, callback rates didn’t vary irrespective to length of unemployment. The researcher paper surmised that employers understand that when the economy leaves a huge number of people out of work, a person being unemployed for a period of time is not as critical as we have previously been told.

It was also found, interestingly, that employers were more likely to offer an interview to a applicant who had been unemployed for a months than to a applicant who is currently employed. It has been perseved that employers see people that are currently employed aren’t serious job seekers, looking to better their wage, or that negotiating salary and/or start date is harder for applicant that are employed.

This is great news for people who have been made redundant or even been laid off due to economic circumstances.  The essentially gives us the following in summary.

First, it is always a good idea to do more than submit your resume to online job advertisements. In many studies, it has been shown, resumes only received  callbacks for an interview approx 4-5 percent of the time. If as part of a application you asked for more information about the job approximately 12 percent received any sort of callback. These percentages seem to not encourage nor allow people to actually be motivated to seek and apply.  Unfortunately this has been the reflection of the standard response that have seen of many advertisers being too busy to respond to all applicant questions and concerns.

Second point if you have been out of work for a while. Like everything in life be honest. Look at indicating as part of your resume why you have had an extended period of time jobless or how you have been spending your time. With the study conducted above, the researchers reviewed more than 1,100 real resumes to see how the unemployed applicants present their resumes and ultimately themselves. The study found that 95 percent gave no explanation for the gap nor any understanding about how they had been working as a volunteer or pursuing additional training, thus missing any opportunity to make them stand out.

Finally, if you are approaching the one year anniversary of unemployment try not to worry too much about the perception your unemployment gap is sending, even more so if you are in a high-unemployment environment. The impact on your job prospects might not be as bad as you think.

Having said that, the results of a single study should never be taken as matter of fact. The study covered jobs in the sales, customer service, administration, and clerical work. This may not apply for all sectors.  However, given the industry within pubs and clubs this would seem to be effective and applicable.

As a job seeker always be meeting people with optimism this will come out in any conversation, resume or even a interview for all jobs your might apply.  Good Luck.

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