I’ve been bumming around for ages…how the hell can I get a job now?

Why you have been out of the workplace for a while can be a tricky issue, and one which you must address honestly – or your credibility will go through the floor. I don’t suppose I need to remind you that lying about it is a bad idea. So how do you go about making the best of it?

Been travelling?

If you’re a young person who has been travelling for some months or even years, you can write up in your CV / résumé about that.

You do not need to give your full itinerary – this would count against you as it’s of no interest to the potential employer – but you can extract from it what you have learned, very briefly, and how that would enhance the contribution you could make to a future employer. Try to make that interesting and a bit unusual; avoid clichés and obvious generalities.

What if I’ve just been out of work?

Being unemployed for a while – even a long while – is not tantamount to being a leprosy sufferer. Unless you’re a total waster (in which case you wouldn’t be reading this) you need to get your self-esteem together and get out there.

For more about working on your self-esteem and increasing your faith in yourself, check out this article of mine on our associate site, BirdsOnTheBlog.

OK. What do I do?

How do you relate this stuff – really – to impress a potential employer?

It’s not rocket science:  just put yourself in the shoes of someone who is being paid to consider employing you. If you have been out of work for some time, explain why. Show that you didn’t sit around doing nothing; tell them about the voluntary work you did while job hunting, how you became a carer for a relative or neighbor, how you coached your daughter’s lacrosse team, how you led a group of tourists through the Himalayas, etc.

Outcomes are what matter

Always relate the activity to the outcome, because it’s the outcomes that a prospective employer will use to judge what you might be able to do for them.  So state how much money the voluntary work raised/saved for a good cause … how the relative or neighbor benefited from your care … how much your daughter’s lacrosse team improved while you were coaching them … how your leadership skills developed while guiding tourists in the Himalayas and helped you manage a team under challenging circumstances … and so-on.

Unless you have spent 5 years just watching TV and picking your nose, with a bit of research and imagination you will find something positive to say – in terms of achievements and related outcomes – about almost anything you have done while out of work.

So think about it hard, write down all the positive elements of your time of unemployment, and incorporate those into your CV. Good luck!

Get your writing right for successful job searching:

“How To Write About Yourself”…how to make the most of yourself, whatever you need to write

“Business Writing Made Easy”…everything you need to know about writing for business in English

“Banana Skin Words and how not to slip on them”…over 1,500 spelling and grammar tips to perfect your written English

photo credit: YHA Rowen via photo pin cc