According to figures published by the ONS (Office for National Statistics) the three months to May saw an overall fall in those out of work by 65,000. A fall is good but it still leaves a staggering 2.58 million out of work. Despite this drop the number of those in long term unemployment rose by 18,000 and, according to the Work and Pensions Secretary, half of those currently without employment have been out of work for over six months. Seasonal changes may account for some of the rises although the overall trend seems to be a slow and steady return to work. However, for those out of work for a long period, the competition for jobs is fierce and, whether true or not, there is a perception that employers prefer to take on staff who have been out of work for only a short period. So how do you improve your chances of finding work?
The obvious answer may be to apply to become a security guard at the Olympics; however, these jobs are short term and won’t keep you off the unemployed statistics for long. The first thing to consider is an overhaul to your resume. If you’ve been unemployed for over six months, and have not updated your resume, then there’s a big gap in it developing. Do whatever you can to fill this gap; obviously it is important to be honest but if you have done any voluntary work, helped out an elderly relative or have done anything else that shows you’ve been making use of the time in a constructive way it’s worth adding to the resume.
If a gap has developed don’t allow it to get any bigger. Speak to your local job centre about any training or voluntary opportunities that may be available in your area. Voluntary work can be a really good way to fill up a developing black hole in your work history; it can also help to remain active and develop and additional new skills which may open more doors on the employment front.
If you have worked in an industry for several years look into the possibility of taking training in your normal area of work to develop your skills. A good example would be a SMTS (site management) course for those who have construction site experience. Although the construction industry has been hit hard in the recession a number of major projects and incentives are being put in place by the government to encourage growth in this sector. Taking site management training can open up a range of opportunities and not only help you back into work but even result in a promotion.
For those who have limited work experience – those leaving school or university – taking training can also be a great idea. The problem that you’ll face when searching for jobs is that a school or college qualification is one thing, while experience is another matter. Many employers will be keen for those with experience which means that they don’t have to provide training for new starters. To beat off some of the competition, consider an industry relevant vocational course – childcare, catering, business administration and health and safety qualifications will all help to increase your employability in the eyes of potential employers in the relevant industries.
Although it seems to be taking some time, there are some signs that the employment market is expanding. For those who have been out of work for long periods it’s important to ensure that you can fill in any gaps on your resume and emphasise to potential employers that you have used the time constructively; whether it’s further training or voluntary work. It can be very hard to remain positive and retain your self-esteem if you have been unemployed for a long period and by taking the time to fill in gaps in your resume with any additional training or voluntary work you will not only improve your prospects but also your confidence in yourself.
This article was written by SMSTS course. For the long term unemployed, staying on top of training in your own industry (such as a SMSTS course for construction workers) can help to improve your prospects, your resume and your confidence.