Why do people continue to be unemployed when there are seemingly millions of jobs available? There are those who have given up, certainly, we have heard about them. They stop applying, or find part time work in an unrelated field to keep food on the table. We also hear about the snobs who say they won’t hire anyone who is unemployed. I can’t wait for those folks to be in the same boat and see how their impressions of the unemployed change. Then there are the skills gaps. Companies need people with updated computer skills, and good old fashion basics like reading, writing and arithmetic. You would be surprised how many college graduates cannot spell.
The first thing to do is to get acquainted with what employers need. This can be accomplished by reading the job postings on any of the larger websites. When you see a required skill that you do not have, avail yourself of online training, or local classes to learn the skills. Just the learning part will put you in a more positive frame of mind. In the metro Miami area, Spanish is a skill that is needed in many jobs. You can easily take language lessons in adult education or private language schools. If you are a native Spanish speaker and need to bring your English up to par, there are courses for that too in every school district.
In addition to understanding their needs, get familiar with the employers in your area and what types of jobs they tend to fill. The medical profession is booming with all kinds of ancillary jobs that alleviate the physician’s heavy workload such as: medical assistant, physical therapist, physician’s assistant. Courses in these fields are available both online and on campus. Bookkeeping and accounting skills are always in demand; just one course can get you closer to winning that interview. A number of people have tried consulting, appreciating the freedom of the consulting lifestyle. Bear in mind that you will have to be making contacts at all times for possible future projects.
Don’t overlook volunteer activities that play well when you are questioned about employment gaps. Activities also keep you out there, interacting with people, telling your ‘story’, enlisting the interest of others and hearing about what industries are expanding in your area. There’s nothing wrong with sharing with fellow job seekers. It gives you an outlet to express yourself in a ‘safe’ environment. Many times, it’s through these people that you find out about new leads, so don’t overlook that source.
I remember attending a job search network event a while back, and the exchange of ideas that took place was very helpful. I made contacts that turned into friends over time. Shared adversity is a natural rapport-builder. It helps to keep up on local events. Which companies are opening headquarters in your area? What skills do you have that might be in demand? The employment gap is real, many jobs are open and companies are having a tough time filling them. It may require greater flexibility on your part as to where you live, or what salary you might accept, but there is employment waiting for you. Having a strong personal brand is an invaluable resource in times like these, but being aware of opportunity, where it might be and what it might require is the exact skill to help you narrow the employment gap.