In the news on Monday was a new scheme proposed by Labour to offer the long-term unemployed a guarantee of a six-month job.   Of course with Labour in opposition this idea is only hypothetical however it does lead to a broader question for job hunters; should you stay at home and search for a job or should you try and take even a part-time or short term job as a possible route back into permanent employment?

Depending on your personal circumstances, you should certainly look at all the available options when searching for a new job. If you hold out for your “ideal” job for an extended period of time you may find that period of unemployment working against you. Anecdotal evidence suggests that the longer you remain unemployed the less attractive you become as a candidate to recruiters.

Regardless of any proposed government schemes I do strongly recommend that you consider all types of employment during your job search. That means not just permanent jobs but also short-term, contract, interim and even part-time jobs. You can still continue your job search but now you will be out every day, gaining further experience, perhaps learning new skills and making new contacts. This short term relationship with an organization will give both you and the employer the opportunity to size each other up with at least the possibility of a permanent position later.

If you find it difficult to get even part-time work you might also want to consider undertaking work on a voluntary basis for a local charity or not-for-profit organization.

Although unpaid, this work may well provide many of the benefits of a part-time time paid job, the potential to learn new skills, gain useful experience and of course meet new people. A period of time spent doing voluntary work is not just good for the soul but can also look good on your CV,  it clearly tells a future employer something very positive about you and your character. I recently worked with a client who had just returned to the UK after spending 12 months  working on a voluntary basis helping to re-build schools in a third world country recovering from the after effects of a devastating earthquake. Apart from finding this period personally rewarding this individual had gained incredible work experience and immediately had a story to tell on his CV which really made him stand out from all the other candidates applying for jobs.

I’m not suggesting that you immediately sign up for voluntary work on the other side of the world but this example does illustrate the benefits of doing something… anything that will help you to take your career forward and which you can justifiably add to your CV.  Interviewers will generally want to know what you have been doing when you have been out of work for a while and having some unusual or interesting experience is one powerful way to answer that question.

About Jeremy I'Anson

Jeremy I'Anson is the author of You're Hired! Total Job Search 2013 published by Trotman Education. Jeremy provides one-to-one career coaching to job hunters at every level from graduate to CEO. Jeremy writes career related articles for the national press including Computer Weekly and The Guardian. He is the official Career Coach at the Daily Telegraph. View all posts by Jeremy I'Anson

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