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3 Tips to Market Yourself When You're Unemployed

02.23.17   |   Job Search & Career   |   Rachel Freendenberg, Division Manager at Treeline, Incorporated

How To Market Yourself When You’re Unemployed
 

At one point or another, we have all found ourselves looking for a job.

3 tips to market yourself when you're unemployedMaybe you’re looking for your first job opportunity after graduating college, or you took some time off between jobs to travel, or put your career on pause to raise a family, or your company experienced organizational changes and entire departments were laid off, or you took time to care for a family member, or you realized that job and industry you were in weren’t really right for you, or you went back to college for another degree.

Whatever the case may be, whether you decided to leave your former employer for professional or personal reasons, or other circumstances were at play, being unemployed can be scary.

It can also be frustrating and discouraging to submit your resume to several opportunities and never hear back from anyone.

So if you’re unemployed, how do you market yourself to show hiring managers that you are a serious candidate that they should consider?

If you are unemployed, here are 3 quick techniques to market yourself and put opportunity back on your side.
 

1. Personal and Professional Development

Even if you are unemployed, you should be actively engaging in a variety of activities that strengthen your skill set.

There are too many job seeker’s applying to the same jobs that you are with one click. If you follow that same approach, you will experience disappointing results.

Any easy way to stay engaged with the corporate world and gain relevant experience is by taking classes.

Employers look for different licenses or classes you’ve taken related to the job you’re going for. Understanding what will set you apart by actually reading the company requirements will give you a better idea of what would appeal to the hiring manager. This will also help you tailor your resume and cover letter to the jobs you are applying to.

There are both free and affordable courses/certifications you can take online. For instance, if you’re looking for a marketing job with a company that does Inbound Marketing, companies like HubSpot offer free online training to get you certified. Also, the Google Partners Program is free to help get you certified in Google AdWords, YouTube Advertising Certifications, and SEO.

If you’re in sales, you can attend conferences that not only provide great learning sessions, but also give you the opportunity to attend a workshop and get certified. For example, Dreamforce is a conference held by Salesforce and they offer Salesforce.com certification. Hubspot, also offers free sales training courses.

Are you a veteran looking to harness selling skills? Sales organizations like Sales Hacker offer free sales training courses for veterans who are looking for a new opportunity.

If you are trying to learn to code or improve your coding ability, websites CodeAcademy offer free and paid classes.

Other websites like Udemy, Coursera, and edX offer a variety of courses in just about everything. Even top universities like Harvard provide free online courses.

You need to highlight your skills that are compatible to the jobs you are applying to. Remember, your resume is a first impression. Most employers are sympathetic to unemployment circumstances, are looking for a story behind it. They also want to understand how you used your time during these employment gaps.

2. Utilize Career Services

There are several free career services that are available to you. Whether you need help with your resume {free sales resume template}, or help with fine-tuning your interviewing skills, utilize free career services.

Practice makes perfect. It may not be your resume holding you back, it may be your interviewing skills. If you haven’t been on an interview in a while, you want to take time to prepare.

Mock interviews are led by your local Chamber of Commerce and various small business affiliations in the area you live. They’re great for resume critiquing and practice the art of the interview.

If you are a recent college grad, your Alma matter will have a career services department that can help you fine tune these areas as well. They also partner with employers that you could connect with.

Partnering with recruiters or career counselors will also help you make strides in your interviewing skills. I recommend partnering with recruitment firms that are specific to your industry.

Make sure you are going on all of your job interviews. Turn down job offers, not job interviews. Talk to hiring managers and interview with different companies, and then decide whether or not you want to move forward.

Never forget that you are interviewing the company just as much as they are interviewing you. Use this as a discovery interview to gain comfort around telling your story, while learning from the interviewer on what is most important to them. After enough practice interviews, they won’t seem as daunting.

3. Network, Network, Network

We all have a network that is underutilized. This is especially true during a job hunt. Don’t forget, people want to help others. Most companies offer an incentive referral program for their employees to bring talented people into the company.

Make sure your LinkedIn is up-to-date and accurate. If your title is “sales ninja” that’s great and all, but to HR or the recruiter, you will likely be passed over for the “sales executive.” You’re your job title relevant to the role you are looking for.

Another idea is to change your title to “actively seeking new opportunities” or something that lets people know you are open to networking for new opportunities.

{Related Article: How (and when) to Fake it (on your resume)}

Start reaching out to personal connections for help. LinkedIn has industry-specific groups you can join based on your interests and job search. Also, tap into your second connections on LinkedIn. Your friends from college or past co-workers may not be able to help you directly, but everyone knows someone who is hiring. See if your friends or co-workers are connected with anyone at a company you are interested in.

Even though we live in a digital world, do not forget to actually get out there and meet people, in-person. Companies host a variety of free networking events. Some companies even hold happy hour events to recruit top talent. A great site to checkout for professional events is Meetup. I recommend bringing business cards to networking events Instead of copies of your resume, unless the event is job search specific.

Navigating the uncertainty of unemployment can be scary and exhausting. Stay positive and motivated. Dust off the resume, polish up the interview skills, and be ready to market yourself. Embrace new job searching techniques. Tailor your resume to meet the requirements of each job you apply to. Take time to hone and improve your skills by taking a course or getting certified. Connect with hiring managers on LinkedIn, and at professional networking events. Utilize career services/recruitment firms and leverage your personal and professional connections. Remember to clean up your social media presence too. Hiring managers are doing their research so don’t let inappropriate tweets or posts cost you an interview. You should have a consistent presence and message across all of your social media platforms.

Remember, you are marketing yourself. Put your best foot forward. If you need help, don’t hesitate to connect with Treeline, Inc.

 

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