Finding extraordinary engineers for exceptional clients

Find an Engineering Job After Long-Term Unemployment

September 15th, 2011

Sad but true, it’s often the case that the longer people are unemployed, the more trouble they have finding new work. And if you let it, long-term unemployment can ruin not only your sense of self-worth, but your well-being.

While the engineering field has not fared as badly as some others in this recent recession, job growth has been, and looks to remain, disappointingly slow. But there are jobs out there.

If you have been out of work for awhile, it may be time to revamp and refresh your job search – and your attitude. Let’s start by analyzing what you’ve been doing, then discuss what you should be doing.

1. How many hours a week do you spend looking for a job?

You should spend 20 to 30 hours a week looking for a new position, slightly less if you are working part-time or volunteering (more on that later). If you’re not devoting a good chunk of your time to the job search, you’ll go too long between interviews

2. How wisely do you spend your job search time?

Are you answering ads you’re truly qualified for, asking people in your personal and professional network for leads and/or cold-calling hiring managers and desirable employers? Or are you needlessly revising your resume yet again, or responding to job ads you’re not fully qualified for, just to apply for something? It’s better to spend your time talking to colleagues or potential connections, and chasing down a few strong leads and tailoring your resume to them, than applying to everything you see.

3. Are you looking in the right places? Have you been targeting too narrow a niche or too high-level a job?

Perhaps you need to widen your search or bring it down a notch or two. If you truly want a job in engineering, you may have a to make a lateral move or work in a less specialized position.

4. Have you had several interviews but no job offers? Or no interviews at all?

Getting an interview means your resume has to make it through the first round, but screening is likely being done by a computer. Make sure your resume is formatted properly and contains the right keywords.

If interviews aren’t leading to offers, brush up on your interview skills. Often, you can do a mock interview with a career counselor, and possibly have it videotaped and critiqued, through your state’s unemployment department.

While you’re looking, keep the following 5 tips in mind:

Keep Networking! Spend time keeping up with old friends and making new ones, in real life and on social media sites such as LinkedIn. Nearly a third of hires are found through referrals.

Call Your Last Employer. Many companies cut too many employees and find themselves struggling now. See if you can pick up some freelance or contract work from your former place of employment, where they know you and your work.

Use Your Downtime Wisely. You may not find paid work, but always be working on something meaningful . Volunteer for a non-profit or a favorite charity. Pitch an adult unpaid internship to an employer. Show potential employers that you have a lot to offer.

Act Hopeful (even if you don’t feel it). It’s an obvious challenge for someone who has been dealing with unemployment for months or years. But studies show that a positive attitude is closely correlated with success at finding a job.


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