Biz Bits: How job hunters can fight the growing stigma of unemployment
Tip of the Week
Forty percent, or 5 million, of unemployed Americans are considered “long-term unemployed,” according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, meaning they have been jobless for at least 27 weeks. With so many people facing long-term unemployment it's inevitable that the topic is raised as they seek and interview for jobs.
The 2012 Job Preparedness Indicator, an annual research initiative of DeVry University's Career Advisory Board, found these unemployed job seekers are often already up against a challenge as they try to re-enter the workplace: 56 percent of hiring managers often refuse to consider an unemployed candidate, a 9 percent increase from 2011.
The survey revealed that 74 percent of employers rely heavily on their own instincts and experiences to decide what skills are critical to fill open positions within their companies. In fact, of the 516 hiring managers at Fortune 1000-equivalent companies surveyed, only 17 percent use benchmarking or tracking to help sort through the applicant pool.
“This begs the question - how can the unemployed gain more job experience if no one will hire them due to lack of experience?” says Jessica Rau, communications manager for McDonald's Greater Chicago Region, and a Career Advisory Board member. “Job seekers should utilize these findings to modify the way they present themselves to potential employers.”
For those unemployed workers looking to get around the bias, the Career Advisory Board recommends the following:
1. Showcase your situation in a positive light - Be confident, concise and non-emotional in interviews. Employers are likely to ask about the gap, but answer questions in a constructive way by mentioning how you've sharpened your skills in the meantime.
2. Keep learning and growing - Fill the gaps on your resume by taking a temporary or volunteer position so that you are working while looking for a new job.
3. Be active in your industry community - both online and off - Strengthen your personal brand by engaging with your industry experts on social channels. Attend a networking event, which will put you in touch with new contacts and will enable you to practice telling your story.
Even if you're cautious about which ATMs you use or stores you shop at, you could still become a victim of identity theft. ATM skimming is a growing problem, and the Better Business Bureau recommends consumers take steps to protect themselves from becoming a victim. The BBB recommends the following ways to fight identity thieves when using a debit or credit card:
- Protect your PIN - When entering your PIN, cover the keypad with your other hand to prevent any cameras from catching your digits. False keypads placed over the real keypad are also a way scammers get PIN numbers so if the keypad looks different, move on.
- Keep an eye on your statements - The most vigilant person can still fall victim to ATM skimmers, and it's important to always keep a close eye on your accounts-particularly the itemized breakdown of charges and debits-so that you can quickly report any suspicious activity on your account.
- Report fraud immediately - Report any fraudulent activity to your bank as soon as you discover it. Consumer protections for debit cards vary but depend largely on when you report the fraudulent activity and sooner is always better. If you wait too long to report the fraud, your bank account could be cleaned out and your bank may not reimburse you.
For more advice on fighting identity theft and preventing fraud, visit www.bbb.org.
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