Active job seekers might face a slight disadvantage in the marketplace. Overcome the obstacles in your path by keeping these tips in mind.
A recent study conducted by Future Workplace revealed a strong employer bias towards passive candidates, or candidates who are currently employed. About 80% of the HR professionals who responded to the study believe that passive candidates are more likely to perform effectively in their new roles.
This may or may not be an accurate assessment, nor may it be a fair one, but there are three distinct reasons why employers tend to make this claim. First, they believe employed candidates hold more current experience. They also feel that the skill sets of an employed candidate are likely to hold more value in the marketplace. And finally, they seem to believe that employed candidates take their careers more seriously than those who are currently without a job.
Ironically, candidates who are unemployed, active job seekers are likely to work harder and show more loyalty after they’re brought on board. The perception that employed candidates are more favorable certainly stacks the deck against candidates who aren’t currently working. Fortunately, there are things you can do to mitigate this perception if you fall into the unemployed job seeker category. Boost your resume and deflect any negative perceptions with these tips.
Include your current projects on your resume — whatever they may be
Job searching is a full-time job in and of itself. Active job seekers know that it’s incredibly important to have projects or activities in the works. Consider working part-time, taking freelance jobs, or volunteering. Use this opportunity for professional development, or to pursue interests that you may not have had time for before. Try writing code through an open source community, starting a blog about a cause you are passionate about, or helping out at a local non-profit. Make your resume gap disappear by listing your recent activities and accomplishments.
Learn so you can earn
Counteract any concern about your current skills by gaining new ones. Take courses at a local community college, or sign up for a class at an adult learning center. Choose courses that are relevant to your career field, or choose an area that you would like to move into. This is an ideal time to update any certifications you need for your field. Add these courses and certifications to your resume. If you haven’t completed your certificate or course, list the intended completion date.
Emphasize the benefits that active candidates bring to the table
Perceptions aside, remember that as an unemployed jobseeker, you bring several potential benefits to prospective employers. First of all, you’re highly motivated to work! Second, you’ve got skills that employers are looking for. Be open to being flexible. Find a way to highlight your willingness to accept a wider range of responsibilities on your resume or in your cover letter.
Keep up your search
Regardless of the perception that passive candidates make better employees, you have one advantage over them: Passive candidates are not actively looking for work. Therefore it is more difficult for employers to find these passive candidates. You, on the other hand, don’t have this problem. Keep up the good work in your networking efforts. Follow up on leads, stay flexible, and keep applying to open positions. You’ll land that job before you know it!