The most recent report on long-term unemployment was not inspiring. Despite job growth and increased labor force participation, the number of Americans stuck in long-term unemployment “did not budge despite the robust job growth,” according to James Sherk. “In February, 2.2 million unemployed workers had been searching for work for at least six months. In the aggregate, new hiring did not reach the long-term unemployed. This explains why the average duration of unemployment remains stuck at almost seven months (29 weeks).”
This statistic is pretty brutal. If you’ve read the NeMAC blog before, you know that we’re proponents of funneling those long-term unemployed into the manufacturing industry, a sector thirsty for new labor and skilled workers. There are so many myths about long-term unemployment that the cycle can become long and unending.
If you’re a long-term unemployed worker, half the battle is knowing how to market yourself for success. When you turn in a resume, what can you do to dispel the immediate prejudice against you?
First, know that being unemployed for a long period of time is not always your fault. “The message people continually received from society, the culture, and from many of the organizations purporting to provide them services is that there’s something wrong with you,” said Michele Martin, a career counselor. “If you fixed your resume, if you interviewed better, if you did this, that, and the other things. There’s no acknowledgment of the trauma people have experienced.” While you certainly can always work on your resume, there is not something wrong with you, and it’s important to enter job interviews knowing that long-term unemployment is not always your fault.
It’s also important to remember that manufacturers want to hire people. The number one impediment to manufacturing success is often a skilled workforce, so you have demand and need on your side. Many companies are willing to train laborers, so make it easy for them to choose you. LiveCareer says that making some simple changes to your resume does indeed make a difference when you’re applying for a position.
For example, reorganizing your work history by order of relevance rather than chronology can make a major difference. Even if you haven’t been employed lately, bring any other work experience you can into the mix. Have you volunteered? Joined a community group? Worked part-time? Show your sense of purpose and drive by listing those activities, whether or not they were paid.
Another important tip to remember is to keep your attitude positive, something that can be difficult for long-term unemployed people who are downhearted from their lack of employment. According to Helaine Harris, a Los Angeles psychologist, “Attitude is a crucial part of the job search, and unfortunately it’s easy to be caught up in negative mental self-talk, especially with the media telling us how terrible everything is.” Reframe the issue in a positive light (which, granted, is much easier said than done). Especially if you’re going to put your talents toward the manufacturing industry, think about how many wonderful, well-paying jobs there are in this exciting industry. Taking a job in manufacturing is a chance to reinvent your career and join one of the highest-demand fields in the country.
Finally, emphasize any technical know-how or hands-on skills that you may have. While anybody can learn to work in manufacturing, hiring someone with a STEM background is often an easy choice for manufacturers to make. Even if you excelled in college IT, don’t leave those details out! They could make all the difference in the world.
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