White Collar Professionals Unemployed for 1 Year or More: Investigating Your Job Options
If not encountered already, at some point in a protracted unemployment interlude we're forced to decide whether continuing a search for the same/similar position previously held is going to succeed in the near-future; or whether we're on a treadmill-to-nowhere: that we've crossed over some invisible 'threshold of denial' - refusing to acknowledge the harsh reality that our profession's job market exercises exclusionary criteria which mercilessly apply to some of us, personally: a few examples are employable age and pay ranges, and where the latest trend of outsourcing a particular job title trumps hiring internally.

Based on where you currently stand in relation to hard reality, partly determines the viability of various job-search options. In addition to the normal search routines of attending job fairs, peer networking, resume send-outs, attending courtesy-interviews, and whatnot, a list of potential job-resuscitation options is shown, below.

In ascending order, are seen 15 options. Numbered options represent gradiations in the extent of personal effort being exercised; in financial investment and the need to reinvent yourself; in personal risk and sacrifice; and in the likelihood of incurring a (1) radical deviation in your career trajectory and (2) major fallout changes in current lifestyle and threats to long-term financial security.

Some of these job-resuscitation options may be irrevelant to your chosen profession. But, hopefully, a couple of them are new to you, and appear to be practical, if not wholly appealing, pursuits.

In ascending order, a brief definition of each option follows:

  • 1. Virtual Job - An employer-offered job position allowing the employee to work out of his/her home with little or no need to physically work at an employer's site; frequently relating to computer-dominant jobs.

  • 2. Contract-to-Hire - An employment option some employers engage in through use of an employment agency responsible for recruiting job candidates who are then hired on a temporary basis (work sampling) and later offered a permanent position if found to be a good match to the job and parent organization.

  • 3. Mainstream-to-Periphery Relocation - Some professions possess attractive skill-sets that are indispensable to another profession's primary mission; for example, training is a major secondary player in the criminal justice and software retail sales professions. Many potential employers won't be found under 'training' in the yellow pages, nor be immediately indentifiable from Internet job searches unless specifically researched. You'll need to identify which of these 'peripheral markets' applies to your locale, narrowly targeting the resulting shortlist.
  • 4. Trading Down on Position Level Offered - The strategy of positioning your resume so as not to appear over-qualified for entry and mid-level jobs; thereby relinquishing your customary pay scale, benefits, and authority.
  • 5. Piggybacking - Seeking a position with a consulting group (as permanent or contract hire); a variation on this option is networking among peers to identify an independent consultant/specialist who'd be willing to employ you permanently or on a qualifying-project basis.
  • 6. Private-to-Public or Vice Versa - This is about switching your focus and search strategy from your principal work-experience sector - business vs. government services - to the alternative sector.
  • 7. Employer Candidates Downsizing - Research potential employers' company size; sometimes the 'small fry' are hiring when their medium and large size counterparts are proving skittish.
  • 8. Repositioning According to Market Voice - This entails collecting a large sample of jobs posted nationwide for your discipline. Then identifying whether a pattern of salient work attributes, skill-sets, and technological aptitude emerges from your penetrating analysis: thus informing you of the job market's hiring trends and priorities; you then fine-tune the language and content of your resume to more accurately match this 'ideal job candidate' (sometimes this candidate changeover can be as striking as night and day).
  • 9. Geographically Relocate to a Stronger Market - By scrutinizing the major job-search engines, it usually becomes evident whether some regions and cities dominate your field's current job market. While physical relocation is a very expensive proposition, sometimes the long-term outlook (e.g., regional job stability) warrants such a drastic move (pun unavoidable).
  • 10. Repositioning in Language of Bottom Line - Not by exaggeration and deception, but through sober discussion with past employers: get them into a 'bottom-line mindset' where your most-notable achievements are calculated into respective profit gains, cost savings/reductions, under-budget-percentages, etc. Reposition each work experience scenario as a near and/or long-term bottom-line outcome for each former employer willing to engage in this process (who'll willingly later verify your claim when contacted by prospective employers).
  • 11. Self-Employed Contractor/Subcontractor - This option's self-explanatory; it demands prudent management of time and financial resources outlaid in a new business startup: you are marketing, advertising, and sales all-in-one; you are proposal writer, secretary, office manager, bookkeeper, and president all-in-one. This juggling act can't jsut work in the short-term, as the meaning of cash flow fast becomes a nagging partner.
  • 12. Internet-Based New Business Startup - This option differs from #11 in that your work products and services can be realistically and profitably provided over the World Wide Web. Many of the same issues in #11 apply here, as well; but at last time-consuming physical travel to customer sites may potentially not be required.
  • 13. Raising the Job Credential Level - It's not just about going back to school, or attending a few educational or training workshops; but rather, researching whether earning a higher degree, or obtaining certification in a currently-hot sub-specialization, or being one of the early experts to adopt a new/advance technology - whether such an investment cost-justifiably ratchets up your employability outlook both near and long-term.
  • 14. Luring Them with the Game Ball - Not so easy a target, this involves packaging a highly-attractive tool, work product, or process (that you have not relinquished all rights to with a former employer) as the icing on your resume-cake to attract potential employers; still more alluring is whether you can furnish journal article(s) authored by others or yourself, or articles referencing your achievement, any patents held, etc.
  • 15. Same Root Skills, Different Position - Possibly requiring minimun re-schooling, this refers to a career change. See John Holland's 'occupational personality' framework, which classifies occupations under 6 core work dimensions: artistic, realistic, conventional, investigative, social, and enterprising. Both the critical skill-sets required, and underlying work-motivation themes, allow discrete occupations to be classified under these dimensions. His research-backed theory shows that we each possess a 'work personality' comprising 3 of these 6 dimensions. Based on our own unique strengths and preferences regarding the 3 dimensions that define us, they arrange themselves by order of their dominance in our exhibited skill-sets. Holland's early work inventoried SEC coded occupational titles under the various combinations-permutations of the 3-stringed work dimensions. We can therefore identify from 'sister professions' listed under our particular 3-string's order-of-dominance those that we'd most likely succeed at, and be impassioned about pursuing.