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Dear Career Coach,

I’ve been unemployed for the last few months and I’m not getting anywhere with my job applications. To make things worse, I have been told that employers are put off by the fact that I haven’t been working and that this makes me seem even more undesirable. I am spending a lot of time applying for jobs so cannot just take any low paid job. How do I explain this period in my life when I go for interviews?



Hi Jonathan

You haven’t mentioned why you are unemployed. If it was due to redundancy because of a business restructuring or some other external reason, most employers will recognize that you are not to blame for your situation.

Since you say that you have been making job applications and not getting anywhere, my question to you would be: what kind of jobs are you applying for? If you are feeling under pressure to get a job, you may be targeting job vacancies that you are not best suited to in terms of your experience. While it may be tempting to try your luck with a wide variety of jobs, your time would be better spent focusing on those jobs whose requirements closely match your skills and experience. Alternatively, you may not be getting anywhere if you are sending out a badly produced CV that is not particularly relevant to the jobs you are applying for. Review your CV each time you apply and ensure that you are sending a version of your CV that closely matches and reflects the requirements of the job you are applying for.

While you may not want to take any casual job just to fill in the time until you find a permanent role, how you spend your time when you are unemployed can say a lot about you. Spend some time each day focusing on your job search but also aim to continue to build and enhance your skills. This may be a good time to refresh your IT skills and/or learn a new application. As you have time, volunteering with a not-for-profit organisation or one related to your sector will not only get you networking with the right people but will also show prospective employers that you are using this opportunity to build on your skills and be of service to others. Good luck!

Is your CV working for you? Need some help to solve your career dilemma? Whether you are a recent graduate or a seasoned professional, our experienced careers coaches can work with you – on an individual or group basis – to help you get back on track with your career.

From online CV checking to face-to-face coaching or presentation skills training to make the right impact at interview, our careers services will help you reach your goals.

Contact us now to discuss your needs: careers@reconnectafrica.com

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