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Rejoining the Workforce with High Unemployment

Posted by Anna Marie MacDonald on April 21, 2020

In these uncertain times, with unemployment rising, please be encouraged. You can get through this difficult time.

All job seekers must be aware that the workforce is no longer an employee’s market as when jobs were plentiful and employers raised wages to stay competitive. Currently, we are entering into an employer’s market allowing employers to be intentional about who is hired, meaning; competition will be fierce, job seekers might be receiving a lot of job denials and finding a job like his/her former position with the same pay, might not be a reality. Therefore, job seekers must be better equipped to brand themselves and be more self -aware of one’s own abilities, skills and accomplishments.

The Goodwill Workforce Connections Centers in Wisconsin and Illinois are here to support you and want to assist you in the process of reinventing yourself, so you are equipped to take on the new employment market. This comes with a bit of preparation , but we are confident that if you follow these steps and take time to practice interview questions, you will be more successful in landing the job you are seeking vs. your competitors.

First, we encourage you to find time each day to reflect on all your day-to-day work tasks. Additionally, this reflection should include your interactions with all colleagues, your manager, external customers and clients. You must contemplate:

  • What are your behaviors? Think of how you reacted to situations such as challenges, not agreeing with your supervisor, managing different personalities, are good examples.
  • Accomplishments: List everything you are proud of in your previous positions. The customers that sent you ‘thank you’ letters, exceeding your goals, implementing new programs and staying safe on the job, as examples.
  • What did you enjoy the most or like the least in your positions? This is not the same as your strengths and weaknesses. One might be good at a task, but dread having to do it.
  • List your strengths: If you don’t know, reach out to your former colleagues or managers and ask them.
  • List your weaknesses: Are your skills relevant? What actions are you taking to turn a weakness into a strength? Employers need to know if your weaknesses will hinder you from being successful on the job.
  • What are your values: Honesty, integrity, confidentiality? When applying for jobs be aware of the company’s values. More times than not, the employer will be asking you behavior questions reflective of their company values. Think about your actions and provide examples to back up these shared values.
  • Evaluate your technical skills: What has changed in the industry? Ask experts on LinkedIn. Please utilize free educational websites, such as The Goodwill Community Foundation Inc. learning website, edu.gcfglobal.org/en/ to continue to learn new skills, both technical and soft skills are important.

Second, reflect on your transferable skills. These are the skills we bring to every position:

  • Interpersonal Skills: assisting others, responding to concerns
  • Organizational skills: follow through, meeting deadlines, setting goals
  • Leadership: delegating, managing, motivating others
  • Communication: writing and editing, presenting, translating, explaining

Third, writing your  resume and preparing for the interview.

There is more to come with the following Goodwill WCC blogs and Facebook webinars to assist with these  steps. But because you have taken time to ponder all your work tasks, interactions, behaviors and accomplishment, writing your  resume and preparing for the interview will be much easier.

Finally, you might hear a lot of ‘no’s.

It can be discouraging, but please don’t take it personally and know that there are many reasons for the rejection letter. Perhaps, the employer hired an internal employee, lost funding, or the recruiter/hiring managers have some biases - it happens. The recruiter will not inform you about their reasoning for the denial because of legal purposes.

If you receive  a lot of rejections, remember, it is not a reflection of you as a person, just be aware of your attitude when you  interview.  Be honest; did you prepare for the interview? Preparation will make you confident and with confidence comes pride, and the recruiter can tell if you are passionate about the position or only spinning the answers to their interview questions.

Don’t bring  discouragement into any communication with potential employers. Stay positive, don’t take anything  personal and move on.

If you need assistance, consider scheduling a virtual, mock interview with a Goodwill Workforce Connection Center employee.  Practice and open, honest feedback are the best way to improve.  We know times are difficult, but there is a light at the end of this tunnel, and we will get through it together.

There is a position waiting for you!  Please let us know when you land a job because we love celebrating job placements!!!!

Good luck!!!

Written by Anna Marie MacDonald

Anna Marie MacDonald is the Workforce Connection Center (WCC) Manager in Lombard, which supports the Goodwill mission in DuPage County, Illinois. She has been with Goodwill for over four years, and in this role, Anna Marie manages the various on-site and off-site workshops, builds employer and community partnerships, facilitates job clubs at various libraries, assist partners with writing resumes and preparing for job interviews. She has a B.A. in Communication and M. A. in Organizational Leadership/Training and Development.

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