You've been laid off. Now what? I wish I had a crystal ball to tell you how long you will be out of work. The reality is that layoffs are definitely on the rise. That might seem oddly out of whack with the unemployment statistics we hear so much about, but it is true. This is where the crystal ball would be invaluable. Will you get another role quickly? I don't know, and no one does right now.
If your job search is dragging on longer than expected, demonstrating that your knowledge and skills are up to date becomes particularly important. “Employers mistake extended unemployment for lack of ambition. Taking classes or pursuing a degree shows you have a drive and a desire to learn," said Shawna Simcik, President at ICC.
“Employees who are committed to continuous learning are in high demand. In today's workforce, companies want employees with tomorrow's knowledge today."
ICC recommends these ways for job seekers to demonstrate they are keeping their knowledge and skills current:
- Confront It: “Don't wait for an interviewer to ask what you've learned lately. Describe how you have kept your knowledge and skills relevant at the outset. In fact, when answering interviewers' questions, provide real-life examples that will help support your relevance to the position," said Simcik.
- Document It: Expand the skills listed on your resume. Detail each area of your expertise – marketing, accounting, public relations, budgeting, forecasting, and inventory management. Specify how you have kept these skills current and quantify your accomplishments for each. Also, name each software product you are proficient in and include recent updating.
- Communicate It: Soft skills like critical thinking are essential to employers today. Include development coaching and training you have received and how this has helped improve your management and interpersonal skills. There are many online resources that allow you to build these skills.
- Practice It: Specify any freelancing, part-time, contract or consulting work you have been performing, especially if relevant to the job opportunity. List any achievements and results you have accomplished.
- Post It: Participate in conversations, join discussion groups on LinkedIn and become recognized as a knowledgeable source in your field. Follow companies you are interested in.
- Demonstrate It: Volunteering enables you to improve your abilities and try out new skills. Use accomplishments you achieve while volunteering to show potential employers. Also, volunteering provides a rich source of networking contacts.
- Engage It: Participate in training webinars, take online courses and subscribe to industry blogs to be current on the latest news and trends in your field.
“Don't wait for an interviewer to ask what you've learned lately. Describe how you have kept your knowledge and skills relevant at the outset."