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Long-Term Unemployment: What to speak about in a Job Interview

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. I had trouble getting my proof of self-employment to upload in secure file exchange and finally got it submitted by 12:06 am , 6 minutes late. What are the possibilities that they will deny it? I have received unemployment from March 2020 to some of Jan and some in Feb 2021. Most of Dec, Jan, Feb, March, & april were stopped for this proof of employment.
    Also, I see proof of Income as a 2nd issue but it is always on there. That was not on my TO DO list.
    I feel for u all on ID.ME…

    Anyone trying to reach UI, call their number, press 2 or 3 (questions abt filing a claim?) and then wait thru the message. At the end of it, u will be connected to a live person! I promise.. don’t push another button.. I’ve done it 4 times and it never failed.

    We lost our home, my ex took my child…. (kept her after a visit and called cps facilitating drama while the cops wouldn’t give her back without paperwork locked up in the court house..shut down for covid) I raised her by myself for 12 years & now she is with a violent alcoholic and parental alienating parent .. ….my dog, my 9-year sweet little best friend, was attacked, passing away 3 days later.. all in this time frame.
    But! It will all be ok. I have faith.

    Be grateful for your life and all that is in it today. What u dwell on daily will be your strength or weakness.
    Good luck to all of u.
    And thank you, Jeff, for responding out here. It is appreciated!
    Davulia S.

  2. I filed over two months ago. I have not received any information. My status says “pending resolution”. I have no way of contacting anyone. My position was eliminated at my job and I submitted the documentations online. I dont know what else I can do.

  3. I have been apply Ohio Pua unemployment since July 5th still pending issues. Upload what they ask for when ever I call says your case is in Adjudication. Very very frustrated, financially I am broke. Health issues. Waiting a long period.Don’t know what I will do ?

    1. Nafisa,

      I can understand your situation. There will be a delay considering the number of applications that are being processed. Please continue chasing the office/check your status online at regular intervals until payments normalize.

    2. Same here since Feb 2021 turned in all the documents still pending issues 3 months now. When you call they tell you to be patient. Pulling my hair out it’s so frustrating.

  4. I was receiving PUA unemployment. they made me file for a new claim in February. Now I am in adjudication even though I gave all the same information from my previous claim. Have been adjudication since February and I call and they say they will put in a ticket to have an Adjudicator call me. Nothing. I am wondering If I can go down to to Maryland Unemployment Office and demand that someone talk with me to release my claim for payment. It’s been 56 days. I read that they have a maximum of 45 days.

    1. Luis,

      Your adjudicator may be inundated with pending cases. Please continue to follow up (if you have the contact details) or consider the option of visiting an office in the vicinity if safe and feasible.

    2. t sounds just like mine only im disqualified yet actie every till sept 4th . they haven’t asked me for anything! i file then its disqualified yet im told im ok and have nothing to do bit wait for an answer? answer to what? they switched my program and all and asked me to provide proof for a claim that wa denied al eady back in 2018! deny me once and then again perhaps? lol idk

  5. My mom had unemployment in Florida. She just recently moved temporally to California with a sister since she needs assistance, and now the website is telling her she cannot do anything because she is register in another state. Can she keep filing unemployment in Florida, even if she is living and register now in another state? how is the process to change the unemployment? I tried calling and there is no answer. Thank you!

    1. Stephanie,

      Please ask your mother to consider transferring the UI benefits from FL to CA (details will be available on either of the websites). If there are benefits weeks left in the account, she will be able to claim them.

    1. Leatha,

      UI benefits are offered to claimants who lose employment involuntarily and be able to and available for work.

  6. I lived in ga in 2019 and move to florida in 2020 and work for the xmas months in nov-dec. I was told to do a combine wage claim. my question is which state do i file the claim in?

  7. I filed for pua in Ohio back in October 2020.My claim has been in ajudacatuon since 11/1/20.So 2 to 6 weeks is a total understatement! When I call.i am told to basically hurry up and wait some more.I have recently been redetermined and my claim is allowed.but I have one pending issue.How long is too long?

    1. Nicole,

      Unfortunately, nobody has an answer. There are perhaps thousands of pending applications. Please consider the option of visiting an office in the vicinity if safe and feasible.

  8. If you claim your weeks for unemployment and for the next 2 months you still have not received your money. Where can you go in volusia county to talk with a live person

      1. HI Jeff,
        I applied back in Dec 5th, 2020 and I haven’t received any correspondence, is there a local office that I can make an appt to make certain my claim is right.

        1. Adam,

          You can consider visiting an office in the vicinity if safe and feasible (details will be available on the Unemployment Office’s website).

  9. On NYS DOL website, my claim is saying current yet the information is for my old claim with 0 days remaining despite receiving 2 weeks of payments on the new claim and I was able to certify last night. I haven’t received anything; no letters or emails.

  10. I was disqualified for UI benefits for not providing an ID and other forms of identification. How do I fix this?

        1. Gary,

          You may not be eligible since unemployment insurance is only extended to those who become unemployed due to involuntary reasons.

    1. Hi Mike, I’m in NYS and was at the end of my BYE on 3/14, I was still certifying but wasn’t getting paid. I found out I had to file a new claim because my other was exhausted. I’m still waiting on approval. Maybe you have to file a new claim. I hope this helps.

  11. They say 2-6 weeks it’s more accurate to say 2-6 months; and when you call many of them are rude and unwilling to assist!

  12. someone needs to look into Sharon L. Anton gillette, wyo. or dickinson, nd she is a fraud and has done so many fraudulent things and please look into her

    1. Annette,

      Please report it to the Fraud Division of the Unemployment Office in your state. You can report on the website.

  13. I worked part time for thee years here in florida. I’m currently not working. I’m also retired and collects social security.
    My question is
    Am I qualified to file for unemployment ?

    1. Ruby,

      To be eligible, you’re required to have sufficient hours and earnings. Please use the “Benefits Calculator” available on this website.

  14. So adjudication takes 8 to 12 weeks. Oh okay, that explains why I havent received payment since July. That surely helps just like the rest of the information that you give. And by the way. What’s the NEW reason you can’t get through to the Call Center.

    1. Maria,
      I have gotten through to the call center (live agent) every time i’ve tried calling within the last 2 weeks. The number to a live agent (follow the prompts carefully) is (667)-207-6520. i have gotten through within 10 to 15 mins with each call i had made!

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