How to Tackle the Job Market After a Long Layoff

Millions of individuals lost their jobs at the beginning of the pandemic and although jobs have slowly been returning, lots of people are still struggling to find work. After months of unemployment, you may feel like you have lost touch with the outside world and getting a job may look like a daunting task but don’t worry, you are not alone. The following are some tips and tricks to help you bounce back and hopefully alleviate some of the stress:

1. Figure Out What Kind of Job You Want

This is the perfect time to consider a career change; what have you always wanted to do? What type of job will be fulfilling and gratifying? Did you like your job before, or would you like to try something new? Use the time off to your advantage and consider upgrading your skills by taking some online courses, reading books, or even listening to podcasts. Make a list of what you would like to get out of this new job while keeping in mind things like salary requirements and work hours.

2. Research and Refresh

If you have been out of work for a while, it is a good idea to research your industry and the types of available jobs. Even if you have worked at a company for many years, you would be surprised to find new emerging roles and the respective salary ranges. Refamiliarize yourself with the responsibilities of the position you are interested in. Are any new programs required? Do you remember how to use all the tools? If not, it would help refresh your memory before you go to the interview or send out your resumes. Some great ways to refamiliarize yourself with the environment are to network with old colleagues, go to informational interviews and use sites like to research the company.

3. Update Your Resume

It may have been a while since you have taken a look at your resume and it could require a major facelift. Add any new work or volunteer experience you have or any new courses or skills you have learned. It also helps to organize your resume functionally instead of chronologically; this draws attention away from your career gap to your relevant skills and work experience. Remember to use keywords to optimize your resume and cover letter to stand out to potential employers. It is also a good idea to update your LinkedIn profile and online presence to give yourself a polished look.

4. Explain Your Career Break

Although most recruiters understand if you have been laid off due to the pandemic, it is still a good idea to be prepared to answer any questions. Remember to keep your explanation brief and to the point. If you have had a longer career break due to other reasons, have your story straight and be confident when explaining the gap. It is important to own your story and focus on what you did during that time, especially if you took any courses or did any volunteer work.

5. Practice

When was the last time you interviewed for a job? If it’s been a while, it is important to brush up on your interview skills. Research some of the most common interview questions and prepare your answers. If possible, have someone run through them with you. Employers like to see someone confident in their answers and by preparing in advance, you can be ready for any question they may ask you.

6. Be Flexible

The job market is not going to be the same as when you left it. It’s important to keep in mind that everyone is trying to adapt to this new normal, which means that the roles and responsibilities of the position you are applying for may look different. It could also mean working from home or more work on the computer; whatever the case be flexible and use the opportunity to learn as much as possible.

If you are still feeling overwhelmed – we can help! Talk to one of our HR consultants and we can help you update your resume, cover letter and/or LinkedIn profile; we also do interview coaching. Send in your resume for a free review and get ahead of the competition!

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