How to Job Hunt When You’ve Been Away from the Workforce

You’ve probably heard the saying that it’s easier to get a job when you have a job. Well, what if you don’t currently have a job? What if you haven’t had a job for a long period of time?

Don’t despair. It may take some extra effort to land a job after a long period of unemployment, but it is absolutely possible. Here are five Es to guide you:

1. Explanation

First and foremost, it is a mistake to hope that employers won’t notice that you are currently out of work. A gap in your LinkedIn profile or your resume is certain to raise a red flag. You need to address it directly.

Depending on the reason for your time away and your personal comfort level, you can either explain the gap at the beginning of your LinkedIn profile Summary or in your InMail correspondence or cover letters to recruiters when you apply for positions. In whichever place you choose to give your explanation, do it quickly, honestly and positively.

Here’s an example if you stopped working because of a layoff:

I am a creative, client-focused public relations professional with deep experience in the financial services industry. Since ABC Public Relations closed its financial services practice in June 2012, I am currently seeking a new opportunity to join a large agency.

Here’s an example if you stopped working for personal reasons, such as childcare:

I am a corporate generalist attorney with substantial in-house legal experience. For the past three years, I have focused on raising my family and I am now eager to commit my substantial energy to a full-time position as an in-house counsel for a small- to medium-sized company.

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Lindsey is a globally recognized career and workplace expert and the leading voice on generational diversity. She has spoken for more than 300 audiences including Google, Goldman Sachs, Estee Lauder, Stanford and Wharton. Lindsey is the author of four career and workplace advice books, and her insights have appeared in media outlets including The TODAY Show, CNBC, NPR, the Harvard Business Review and the Wall Street Journal.

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