We know it happens. Employers discriminate against the unemployed.
Sad fact. I’ve said enough on that, so let’s move on. What can we do about it?
It helps to know why employers would rather hire someone already employed, or at the very least, the recently unemployed. Some reasons include:
- People who have a job are proven to be valuable.
- You can’t be sure why the unemployed lost their jobs.
- The employed will adjust quicker to a new job.
- An employed candidate has fresher job skills.
Boiled down, employers are concerned about the risk and cost involved in hiring new talent. The supposition is that someone who is currently working is a lower risk than a long-term unemployed person.
One way to overcome that is to volunteer.
This example proves what I mean: I had a jobseeker whom I will name Jane for the purposes of her anonymity. Jane had been out of work since her tanning business closed over a year before. She no longer wanted the stress of running a business, and wanted to help people. To that end, she targeted her next career as being a patient support specialist in a local health care system.
She was way above the curve in terms of proactivity: by the time she met with me, she had already filled out the paperwork to volunteer at her local hospital one day a week. As she learned her new tasks, she asked to be trained in everything she could find to do. Co-workers said she was like a sponge, soaking up everything. Once she was thoroughly trained, she didn’t wait for her new assignment, she saw what needed to be done and tackled it. As a result, she won a lot of new friends.
When a position she had targeted finally came open, she applied for it online along with everyone else. But her current experience and skills put her ahead of the game. She interviewed for the position and was afterward informed the job was filled internally. She didn’t discover till later that she had gotten the position; she was internal– because she volunteered.
What can volunteering do for you? True, it cannot pay the bills or put food on the table, but volunteering at a targeted company can:
- orient you to the company culture and operations
- increase your network
- keep your skills fresh and up to date
- make you (and your work ethic) known to hiring managers
- fill in those pesky job gaps on your resume
- make you feel productive, staving off jobseeker depression
- prepare you to hit the ground running!