Wood Words

Jobless Discrimination: Overcome It and Find a Great Job

Out of work in Middle Tennessee?

You’re not alone.  Despite recent improvements in our unemployment rate, a large portion of the job-hunting population is unemployed – and has been for awhile.  And as if that’s not enough, unemployed job seekers have to face another seemingly unfair obstacle on the path to employment – jobless discrimination.

Unfortunately, despite numerous EEO laws and safeguards, some employers will not consider résumés sent to them by job seekers who aren’t working.  These employers believe that requiring that a candidate be gainfully employed is just “smart business” – helping them control the flood of applications and filter out “damaged goods” before spending valuable time and resources on screening and interviewing.

If you’re unemployed and looking for work, it’s hard to see the logic in these hiring practices.

Now is a time to stay strong.  Here is some sound advice for beating unemployment discrimination – before it beats you:

  • Forgive yourself – and move on.  Losing a job is nothing unusual, especially these days.  Mergers, cost-cutting measures and total shutdowns have forced countless people out of their jobs over the past few years.  Whatever your reason for being unemployed, you need a positive mindset to tackle what may be a tough job search.  The best thing you can do is forgive yourself for being out of work, and then move on.
  • Ignore the verbiage in job posts that suggests an employer intends to discriminate based on recent employment status.  Just because the discriminatory language is present in a job listing doesn’t mean you have to adhere to the request!  If your job skills and experience are a good fit for the posting, by all means apply for that position – regardless of your employment situation.
  • If you’ve only been out of work for a short time (a few weeks or months), invest a lot of time and energy into networking and informational interviews.  This will help you get past the initial human resources screening that would eliminate you from consideration.  Use networking as a tool to demonstrate your willingness to work hard, and your drive to find a job may overcome the bias against you as a person out of work.
  • Consider adjusting your résumé.  If you’ve been out of work for awhile, you may want to switch from a chronological to functional résumé format.  This will allow you to lead with your skills and qualifications, outside the context of your employment history.  Additionally, you may want to omit dates from your employment history section.  Once your skills have an employer’s attention, he can inquire about the dates.
  • Solidify references from previous employer(s).  When you’re unemployed, a strong endorsement from an employer – even one who let you go – may outweigh the length of your unemployment.

Temporary and Contract Work – Your Best Bet for Beating Jobless Discrimination

Looking for a sure-fire way to overcome your jobless stigma?  Go to work for a staffing service like Wood Personnel – as soon as possible!  It’s easiest to find a job while you’re working, so stack the deck in your favor.  Beyond merely changing your employment status, temporary and contract work can help you:

  • Earn valuable income – at a time when you really need it.
  • Keep your spirits up – by being productive and engaged.
  • Build your résumé and keep your skills sharp – the variety inherent in temporary assignments presents you with new challenges, allowing you to grow and gain experience.
  • Find direct employment – if you prove yourself on the job, your temporary or contract position may convert to a direct opportunity.  Additionally, while you’re on assignment, Wood Personnel can actively search for direct positions that match your skills, experience and interests.

Contact your local Wood Personnel office today to learn more about jobs in Nashville, Cool Springs, Murfreesboro and Hendersonville, Tennessee.