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Handling Job Interview after Long Unemployment Period

Updated : August 4th, 2020

Many American who became jobless in the early days of recession remain unemployed and the practical and emotional toll is immense. The recent jobs report had mixed news. Overall unemployment levels have resolved at a relatively lower 8.5% percent but almost 5.6 million Americans have been out of work for more than 6 months and nearly 3.9 million for more than a year. Presently, employers are spoiled for choices. Many people are applying for the same job and unless you have a great work history, you have less chance of getting selected.

When someone who has been laid off for more than six months applies for a job, it’s hard to get back in. Employers look at the long term unemployed with a suspicious eye and have questions about that resume gap. Even if you have a great CV, the employer will think….if no one else is hiring this person, why should I? Moreover, they might also think that you are not motivated to find work and are not trying hard.

Long term unemployment leads to lack of confidence and once you begin to feel unworthy of a job, you stop bothering about your look and punctuality becomes less important. The more rejections you get the less confident you feel and the drive to live life can be exhausting…it’s a vicious circle.

Be positive while explaining long-term unemployment

The fact is that recruiters will presume that you have a fault or some other negative reason for your lack of work. Hiring managers will anticipate you to hold yourself accountable and at least be able to clearly give one or two genuine reasons for long- term unemployment. If you can’t confess to what has happened to some degree, then the supposition will be you are faulty in your ability to see the situation for what it is. In addition, you will be seen as someone who accuses others for setbacks.

Though the average length of unemployment in America is 10 months, you cannot mention down economy the only reason for your problem. This doesn’t make you look unlucky but you appear someone who feels offended and helpless.  So, a valid reason for being jobless for this long is a combination of the current economy and the mistakes made during the job hunt process. This will exhibit professionalism and the ability to learn from mistakes.

It’s very important to assure the interviewer that you’re not out of touch with your industry. For this, you should be capable of explaining the top trends, changes and challenges that are being practiced by your industry. This will explain your dedication to your field and your wish to stay in it. Emphasizing volunteer or the freelance work is the best way to clear that you have been making efforts to keep your skills up-to-date. Lastly, this shows that you understand the value of utilizing your time and energy as a way to continue growing yourself.

Many individuals have lost their job without any fault of their own, yet they are facing a crisis of confidence in their abilities. If you don’t deal with that fear, it will translate in your body language and facial expressions. Hiring managers will see through you, if you think you’re doing a fabulous job masking it. So, it is always good to work with an experienced career coach who can help you work through your feelings.

With unique personality humor can be used when discussing long-term unemployment. Too much joking and excuses will make it seem as if you don’t appreciate what has happened to you. Responsibility must be your mantra, when it comes to long-term unemployment.

Leave your past behind and keep your future growing

Keep yourself away from the people in the same boat. You need to surround yourself with people who are working in your industry. This can be done by joining groups on LinkedIn in your area of expertise, attending industry events and setting up interviews with people working in same domains that you aspire to. There are many opportunities to be to be found; but you must be looking in the right places.

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  1. So I have been getting ue for 6 months and on Oct 21 I had a fact finding issue found and cleared after taking a month, I got put on hold I got nothing no benefits nothing because I am on hold until cleared up and it was another month later in my favor, I’ve been without payment since Oct 21 since then I have been on HOLD, I am beyond pissed, I call every Fri I see the letter I received saying its in my favor that says I am Monetary Eligible-yet I still have 6 payments on hold. I call DEO and I talk, I beg and I get told “we are working on it”, the letter is in my favor I am poor not rich I am poor Why how do you people get away with this

  2. Hello

    I’m 59 years old and was laid off in March 2020 due to Covid.
    In June 2020 I was advised my job was eliminated and there is no chance of me
    Being brought back. I’m collecting UI since March.

    Pondering the thought of taking my early retirement pension as I can’t survive on
    UI any longer. My pension is of course reduced due to my age. Full pension is age 62.

    If I apply for early reduced pension in this situation, does my UI benefit get decreased? I’m in New York.
    I’m still looking for full time work. No luck.

    Thank you so much

  3. i was just layed off from my job, i did collect benefits in pa. my job is seasonal igot unemployment payments in jan. to april i had 26 weeks of unemployment , but only used about 13 weeks, and was called back to work. i received 2 weeks of 600 dollars of stimlus money. my question is now that i reopened my 2020 claim . i,m i still elegibe for any more stimlus payments along with my regular unemployment payments.

  4. I am 65 yrs old in California and being layed off in Dec 2020. If I apply for unemployment benefits and collect a company pension, will the pension reduce the unemployment benefits ? If you answer call unemployment what is the department or do you have a phone number for a help line. I have called and get automated questions that do not apply to my situation.
    Cannot get to a live person.

  5. Several years ago I was part of a reduction in force and was early-retired for pension purposes. I count on this small pension ($2K/mo) to supplement my employment which has been inconsistent this past two years. I am filing for UI in IL and I qualify for it, but they are saying my pension reduces my UI benefit to zero. Is that right?

    1. Mike,

      That is partially right. The pension will have an impact on UI benefits. Please check for relevant info on the Unemployment Office’s website.

  6. I have $219.00 left on my UE and still no work due to covid-19 will i be able to get a extension on my UE and will it cover the last two weeks. I request payment tomorrow.

      1. My benefits have expired, still.unemployed due to over 65, wdiebrtes, high blood pressure and have one kidney, Can I get PUA , Cares Act for any assistance

  7. im working at a place i have been layed off from a lot in my career.i got 30 yrs in there so i can retire now but need another job to make it hoping to stay working and get more hours.If i take a new job and get layed off there I will BE DRAWING 1400 A MONTH FROM THE JOB I WORKED 30 YRS would i be able to draw unemployment if the new job lays me off and would it be reduced because of my retirement money of 1400 month.

  8. My bf was laid off in April he got the the 600 to start with now he is only getting the unemployment and no extra when we hear ppl getting 3 checks totaling 40k that might be lies but still that is bullshit.

  9. I Sharon Bland or Sharon Scott or Sharon Ann Mccraw
    Use my phone to claim two of my boyfriends and my own benefits. Is that ok ?

  10. I’m getting pua on employment and it was supposed to be backdated to May 27th when I wasn’t ableable to start my new job and somehow it’s August 24th they said it would be backdated been sending messages and pua people keep saying they have emailed you guys too but nobody gets back to me who do I need to contact about this thank you

  11. I check my checking account balance every week but I cannot tell if I am getting my 300.00 extra unemployment. Also. How can I tell if I got my back time unemployment .

    1. Thelma,

      I did not understand what you meant. Please reach out to the Unemployment Office for precise answers to all your questions.

  12. I have exhausted my UI and all extensions. Not eligible for Fed Ed. Does EDD open a PUA claim for me. Or do I have to aoole for it. Its been past 30 days since receiving my Fed Ed denial letter.

  13. i have been unemployed for the whole year almost and since i have been trying to distance myself to better my all around health, it took me this long to file for benefits, i was hoping to get back pay all the way to the beginning.

    1. Zach,

      To qualify, the claimant is required to have sufficient earnings/employment during the “Base Period”. Please use the “Benefits Calculator” available on this website for more.

  14. Thank you o much for investigating this. When I received an overpayment statement and my benefits where stopped I felt my heart drop to my stomach. Already being evicted by a slumlord and now no income, i had to start working when i feel very at risk for getting the virus because of pre-existing conditions and the reason for filing in the first place. i am a cosmetologist and considered non-essential. I feel utterley hopeless and helpless in this situation.

  15. I cannot contact anyone in the unemployment offices because the phone hangs up on me in all cases after listening over and over the recorded message. I have called three numbers .

    I have received pandemic unemployment since March 31st. There was a pending adjudication but I never received any questions, letters nor emails about it and I was approved and paid. Now…this is what the website says:
    7 of 7 entries
    Issue Identification Number Employer Name Issue Type Status Date Mailed Level
    0002 7693 59-01
    PUA Pending 11/16/2020 Adjudication
    0002 4773 71-01
    Program Integrity Mailed 11/6/2020 Adjudicati
    Claimant Inbox
    Select the Search button to display your action items. To narrow your search, input issue date range below and select the Search button.
    Issue Date: From: To: 11/6/2020 to 11/16/2020
    • Below are the items that require your attention and that you need to take action on for your claim.
    • Select the Document ID
    I need this money to survive as others do while I am trying to re-establish any contract freelance work I am capable of doing….I report my small jobs as I get them but they do not come close to equaling my unemployment as of yet. Please tell me where I can go to find out what is needed here.

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