Staying encouraged during long job search

1.1 million Americans classified as discouraged workers

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Keith Fairchild, president of TRC Staffing Services in Jacksonville, says many of the unemployed have given looking for work.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Although the economy is seemingly improving, there are still millions of people in America who are still without jobs. Many of the unemployed are classified as "discouraged workers," people who have given up even looking for a job.

According to figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 1.1 million Americans were classified as being discouraged workers in December 2012.

Keith Fairchild, president of TRC Staffing Services in Jacksonville, recently discussed the light of the discouraged worker and what these folks can do to rejuvenate their job search in 2013.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are currently about 12 million unemployed people in America. Within that group are 4.8 million people considered one?term unemployed because they had been searching for work for 27 weeks or more.

Discouraged workers are a subset of people who want and are available for work, but are not currently in the labor force. They've looked for a job sometime in the prior 12 months, but are not even counted as unemployed because they have not searched for work in the four weeks preceding the survey. They basically don't feel like there is not a job out there for them and have at least temporarily stopped looking. There are more than 1 million discouraged workers; that impacts a lot of families and represents a lot of wasted talent.

There is some good news on the horizon. There have been 34 straight months of job growth and employers added 155,000 jobs in December alone -- so the trend is very positive.

An important fact that is lost in the overall unemployment figures is that the unemployment rate for people with college?degrees is now only about 4 percent. Another interesting development is that many large companies, like Apple, are for the very first time bringing overseas jobs to the United States.

Also, there is a link between the real estate market and unemployment. Too many people have been unable to move to take a new job because they can't sell their home. The real estate market has improved significantly in recent months, allowing more people to relocate for a good job.

Here are a few tips if you're on the job hunt:

Rev up your resume
It may be time to revisit your resume as most hiring today starts with an online search for your resume. The way you stand out is through the use of key words. Spend some time and get some help in expanding the number of key words on your resume.

Refresh your look
Getting back into the job hunting game can be like getting back into the dating game. Like it or not, updating your professional look can help in your job search, and it doesn't have to cost a fortune. Look for sales from mainstream retailers and check discount, consignment and thrift stores for business wear. If you're really short on cash, there are local programs that provide interview attire for disadvantaged job seekers.

Reconnect with contacts/friends
You don't have to do it on your own. Everyone can benefit from advice, contacts and just moral support. Colleges frequently extend career services to alumni regardless of when they graduated. There are also many affordable business networking groups. Also, it's time to pick up the phone and call old contacts. You'll be surprised at how many people have been in similar situations and will be willing to help.

Reconsider your employment options
If you keep coming up short in your job search, it might be time to broaden your scope in terms of career choices or to consider seasonal or part?time employment until you can find the job you want to have. You know the saying, "It's easier to find a job when you already have one."

For companies thinking about hiring discouraged workers or the long term unemployed, this is a great time for companies to attract some outstanding talent. If someone has been unemployed for a while, and used that time to start a side business, pursue passion for travel, or help others through community service, they can bring so much more back to a job than when they first became unemployed.

Interviewers should listen for examples of how the career detour has given the applicant new insight into how to manage themselves and other people. The ability o turn what has been a negative into a personal success can make them very valuable new employees.

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