There’s a saying that goes “to get a job you must have a job”, but what happens if you don’t? Here’s how to beat the unemployment bias.
Many people find themselves out of work due to redundancy, termination or the end of a fixed term contract, or perhaps they find themselves having to return to the workforce after an extended period of time due to changed family financial circumstances or divorce.
If this is you, here’s what can you do to increase your chances of finding employment.
Use your network
A significant proportion of jobs are on the “hidden” job market. These are roles not formally advertised, but filled through referrals.
Friends and family may know of available roles, but they can’t recommend you or let you know about them if they don’t know that you’re looking for work.
So use you network, and let everyone know that you’re on the lookout for a job.
A referral is also a great way to work around any bias or concerns that a hiring manager may have as a referral from a credible source provides a level of comfort and assurance.
Sign up with a recruitment agency
Being ‘on the books’ of an agency may see you considered for roles before they are formally advertised.
Most agencies guarantee their candidates, helping you to work around the possible unemployment bias of a prospective employer.
A good agency will also give you interview and presentation tips and may discuss roles or industries that you hadn’t previously considered.
There are agencies specifically for the indigenous, older workers and returning to work Mums, so depending on your circumstances you may find an agency looking for candidates exactly like you!
Be aware that most agencies will expect you to sign exclusively with them.
Fill the gap
If your search for employment is taking a while or if you’ve been out of the workforce for an extended period, consider volunteering or temporary work.
Both will provide the chance to expand your network, obtain professional references, and could lead to permanent work.
It will also be something current to include on your cv, some prospective employers are put off by candidates with no recent experience.
If considering temp work, try and do so via an agency other than the one you’re using to find permanent employment. It’s in a temp agency’s best interest to keep you ‘temping’ rather than placing you in a permanent role.
Make use of the gap
If you’re currently in a period of unemployment make the most of it.
There’s only one job advertised for every six low-skilled workers, so if this is you, improve your chances and use the time to upgrade your skills or undertake formal study, you may be eligible for free or heavily subsidised courses.
Also, all job seekers should brush up on their interview techniques and ensure that their cv and cover letters are correctly written and formatted.
Your recruitment agency may be able to help with this or you could find online tips or tutorials.
Get onto social media
There are a lot of employment websites, but social media also plays a large part in the employment market.
Follow or join Facebook and Twitter accounts/groups relevant to your job search and ensure you have an updated and complete LinkedIn profile.
Participate in discussions where possible and join groups related to your hobbies and even old high school or university to expand your networks and reconnect with past contacts.
Finally, make finding a job your current job.
There may be a bias against the unemployed, but being unemployed gives you more time to dedicate to finding work.
Schedule your week so that you can regularly scan employment sites and social media, and touch base with your agency and other contacts.
Attend open days, seminars and community events to expand your network and dedicate time to improving your skills.
A long job search can be disheartening, but stick with it – you’ll never find a job if you give up the search.