In the latest data from the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, there are 7.6 million unemployed individuals in the US (January 2017). Nearly a quarter of those that are unemployed have been jobless for at least 27 weeks. Frankly, these numbers can be frustrating for anybody who’s on the hunt for a job. However, with the right strategies you can make the most of your time and put that career back on track. Here are four tips to increase your hiring potential and be one step closer to a job offer:
# 1 Boost Your Presence Online
When was the last time you updated your professional profile? 92 percent of job hunters are using some form of social media to find talent. Use your time as an opportunity to create or strengthen your online presence. Don’t stop at giving your LinkedIn profile an overhaul—build your reputation on the web by sharing your expertise through social media and joining online discussions related to your field. Aside from having a reputable online presence, it’s always good to steer clear of internet behaviors that turn recruiters off—including bad-mouthing a former employer, sharing confidential information or making discriminatory comments.
# 2 Reconnect and Keep in Touch with Colleagues
Building professional relationships and keeping in touch with peers can make all the difference if you’re changing careers or seeking job opportunities. Don’t miss out on trade shows, job fairs or conferences. These places can be a gold mine to make a good impression, take an interest in industry developments, and let colleagues know what you can offer. Your network often can give a much-needed push by alerting you to job opportunities or introducing you to potential employers.
# 3 Do Volunteer Work
Volunteering is one of the most effective ways to gain meaningful work experience and avoid glaring employment gaps. In fact, a government study showed that unemployed workers who volunteered had a much better chance of finding a job compared to those who did not. Look for a nonprofit or charity organization that you believe in and use this as an opportunity to learn new things and forge new relationships. Consider assisting in shelters or participating in community programs that give you a sense of fulfillment.
# 4 Upgrade Your Skills
In such a competitive work environment, upgrading your skills is a not just an option—it’s a must. Use your time in between jobs to widen your skillset. After all, the last thing you want to happen is to lag behind the competition. Bounce back by continuing your education and taking certifications to beef up your resume. Leverage relevant learning opportunities—online courses, podcasts, lectures—to improve your chances of being hired!
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