If you’ve been unemployed for more than six months, you may be wondering – and with good cause – if you’ll be able to find a job at the same level and/or pay rate as before you were let go.

The answer is (of course): it depends.

It depends on if the field you left is in hiring mode. It depends on whether or not you’ve kept the skills that are used in your field up-to-date, or that you’ve learned new ones (as necessary).

Read below for some tips on how to secure a position at the same level/salary as before your months of unemployment.

  • As mentioned above, you need to work to ensure that any skills needed in your line of work stay up-to-the minute. If this means paying to attend seminars, conferences, workshops, etc., so be it. If you feel you truly can’t afford the cost, consider registering with temporary staffing services such as Winston Resources – you often can learn new skills via the staffing service or on the assignments you receive.
  • If you don’t keep your skills up, you should ask yourself why. Do you not really enjoy the type of work you once did? Perhaps this break from employment is a good time to explore other opportunities and to see how your skills can translate to another field. (Be aware, however, that you may need to take a step or two down in pay and responsibility as a career changer.)
  • If you decide you do want to remain in your line of work, sit down and list – as in really sit down and list – all the strengths and even weaknesses you bring to an employer. Think about why an employer would not want to hire you and come up with answers to combat them. Similarly, think about why an employer would want to hire you and be sure you have those reasons handy to talk yourself up during job interviews (and when you write cover letters/your resume).
  • Do something. As in, you’re going to need to explain to an employer what you’ve been doing with yourself for the past few months. Make sure it’s not “watched Netflix.eight hours a day.” If you left work to take care of a family member, say so. If you were laid off, what types of volunteer work did you do, classes did you take, etc.?
  • Speaking of volunteer work, volunteering is a great way to network into a position. Networking, in fact, is your key to finding work at the level/pay range you recently left. You can talk to your volunteer supervisor and other volunteers about what you’d like to do and ask them if they know of leads. In addition, your colleagues will see your work ethic and, if they know of your career needs, can recommend openings to you. Plus, it will be a good answer for when an employer asks you “So, what have you been doing with yourself these past few months?”

As mentioned above, working with a staffing service such as Winston Resources can be a great way to keep your skills up and help you find work. Many of our temporary positions, in fact, result in the workers getting hired by our clients. If you live near NYC, contact one of our recruiters!

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