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8 Challenges Faced By The Unemployed

1. Discrimination against the unemployed.
There is an unfortunate growing trend of discrimination against the unemployed, simply because they are unemployed. This story reported that there are employers / hiring managers that cling onto the old stereotype picture of an unemployed person: lazy, apathetic, etc. The fact is that 14 million+ people lost their jobs during the Great Recession through no fault of their own. Regardless, at this point it would be a futile exercise trying to prove you've been discriminated against because you were unemployed. Rather, look for ways to avoid the topic. One possible way to alleviate a hiring manager's "concern" is to use a wingman in order to get the job.

2. Discrimination due to an employment gap.
This problem is similar to discrimination against the unemployed as mentioned above, but different in the fact that it is your period of time between jobs that employers are focusing on. For example, you were laid off in January, struggled to find appropriate work for 3 months, and finally  settled for a
part-time job in a different industry while continuing to look for meaningful work. The problem? There is a 3 month employment gap on your resume. Some employers will look at employment gaps unfavorably, falsely assuming you were unproductive during that time and that this would indicate you are not as hard working as they would like. Here is a much better way of dealing with employment gaps.

3. High school and college kids looking for summer work.
You have to admire high school and college kids who will work during the summer. It can bring them extra money for school as well as good work experience for after their education. Unfortunately, both job seeking adults and kids lose in this category as both are competing for the work. The unemployment rate among 16-24 year olds is 18.4%.



4. Baby Boomers who are postponing retirement.
The May / June 2011 edition of The Quarter Roll says that starting this year 19,000 baby boomers will turn 65 every day for the next 19 years. However, with inflation fears and retirement accounts still recovering from traumatic 2008 losses many baby boomers have been forced to delay retirement and stay in their current positions. Those are positions that would have otherwise been open for new hires.

5. Discrimination against those who have been bankrupt.
In March 2011 ConsumerAffairs.com posted an article that reported a federal appeals court ruled that it is ok for a private employer to discriminate against a job seeker who has filed for bankruptcy. Don't believe it? You can read the whole story here.

6. A disconnect between skills and available jobs.
Many millions of people who were laid off are finding that the skills that served them well prior to the recession are no longer the skills many employers are looking for. There are industries thriving and actively looking for employees, such as the information technology and cyber-security industries, but are finding that many of the unemployed simply don't have the modern skills needed for the available jobs.

7. Employers who are simply fishing for a good deal on salary.
"What You Need To Know About The Job Interviewing Process", as seen in the March / April 2011 edition of The Quarter Roll,
reported that advertising open jobs is some companies' way of conducting inexpensive market research. They may want to meet you because you have an interesting resume or worked for a competitor and can share insights. They may just be looking for a highly qualified  person who will work for a much lower salary.

8. Currently 4 job seekers for every job opening.
The Baltimore Sun recently reported that there are still 4 job seekers for every 1 job opening. You can read the entire story here.

What you can do if you are unemployed.
If you are unemployed it is important to make yourself as attractive as possible to potential employers. That means you should eliminate any questions about unemployment or employment gaps. Regardless of the reason why you were laid off you should immediately find something else to do. Anything is better than nothing. Even volunteer work on a regular basis can be put on your  resume in order to fill the employment gap. At the very least you are demonstrating your willingness to work and be involved in a team. Additionally, a recommendation from a common friend could be just what you need to thwart any unemployment concerns a hiring manager had.

Making yourself stand out is more important now than ever before. You have high school and college kids, baby boomers, underemployed and unemployed workers, and even dissatisfied workers competing for the job you want. One way to stand out is to have the technical and modern work skills training that employers are looking for. Don't delay enrolling in some type of higher learning while you are working a temporary job, volunteering, or looking for work. Your local unemployment office or community college are great places to ask for tuition free assistance.

What you should do if you are employed.
Consider the plight your unemployed counterparts are facing. Review the challenges listed above and prepare yourself now in
the event you find yourself looking for work. If you have meaningful work now you are in a great position to get a head start by making yourself more marketable in the workforce.

 
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