Are you kidding me? You won’t give me a job unless I already have one! Classified ads for jobs in online postings and newspapers are frequently stating that unemployed candidates will not be considered. Others are requiring that in order to apply for a job, you must be currently employed. There is something fundamentally wrong with this.
To add insult to injury, some of our elected representatives think that workers collecting unemployment are lazy and do not believe that unemployment benefits should be extended. Do you actually think you can help me find a job by eliminating my unemployment benefits? Talk about being caught between the devil and the deep blue sea.
Many states are taking up legislation to address classified advertisements including this kind of language. Even the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is holding hearings to determine how to address the problem. If the unemployed need not apply, how will the unemployed ever get a job?
Fortunately, the number of employers and recruiting firms using this language are in the minority. But wait, the advertising is only the surface issue.
Even if employers stop advertising that the unemployed need not apply, does that mean that it will cease to be used as a qualifying mechanism? Dates of employment are commonly found on resumes and job applications. So what’s to keep employers from giving preferential treatment to currently employed workers? Nothing! Legislating this issue is akin to plugging a hole in a dam with your finger.
Let’s act on the suggestion of a fairly intelligent man. Albert Einstein is quoted as saying, “You cannot solve a problem from the same consciousness that created it. You must learn to see the world anew.” Interpreted to apply to this issue, the suggestion would be to discontinue looking at the problem from the perspective of an unemployed person and begin to look at it as a professional who is employed. How? Employ yourself.
Although starting your own your own company could be a good idea, it isn’t necessary. Simply keeping yourself involved in activities that support your career objective is the key. In simplest terms, the word, employ, means “to make use of”. So make use of your knowledge and experience, whether someone is paying you to do it or not. Forward motion in your career is essential. Your career doesn’t end when someone stops paying you to do what you love.
The effective solution to the problem lies within the resourcefulness of the job seeker. Consider a few points that may help you with this challenge in your work history. Fill unemployed time frames on your resume with activities that support your career objective.
Travel. Career related activities can be incorporated into your travels. A visit to the Chambers of Commerce and researching employment opportunities can not only open up possibilities for new job, it can also be used to gather information about your chosen profession in places other than your hometown. This information can be shared with others in your career field. Become a resource.
Community Service or volunteer work. When selecting an organization with which to volunteer, find one that can makes use of your skills. It doesn’t matter if you are in marketing, IT, project management, etc., organizations that operate with volunteers need people fulfilling the same responsibilities as any other business.
Internships. Often times, companies will actually allow individuals to expand their knowledge of their chosen profession through internships. Some are paid, others are not. Students do it all the time. Either way it is worth consideration.
Schooling and Additional Education. In order to remain marketable in a rapidly changing world, is imperative to be in step with innovations within your profession. Attend lectures, enroll in classes, or get an additional certification. These types of activities add to the value you bring to your next employer.
Establish your own company or consulting firm. Whether it is temporary or for the long haul, this is a great way to demonstrate employment. Make it a legal entity. My preference for a startup is a Limited Liability Company (LLC). It is relatively easy, inexpensive and provides protections not afforded to a sole-proprietorship or partnership while avoiding many of the complexities of a corporation.
Essentially, you must find a means to demonstrate that you are currently active in your career. This will not only satisfy a job posting that states you must be employed to apply, it will also keep your skills sharp and your marketability at its peak.