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How Long is Too Long?

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The New Rules of Extended Unemployment

How Long is Too LongAs the economy works to pull itself out of recession, there are still many Canadians who are struggling to find work. These individuals hail from the blue collar factories to the white collar boardrooms and comprise everyone in between. It has been a challenging period for many, although with long-term joblessness on the rise, the effects can be devastating. The Globe & Mail has created a comprehensive report looking at this very issue.

Statistically speaking, the duration of unemployment is the highest it has been in over ten years, with a steep climb over the past year. Twenty per cent of those unemployed have been out of work for 27 weeks or longer.

While the obvious side effect is financial strain, additional issues include distress, stress, reduced self-esteem and poor mental health. Losing one’s extended benefits may also result in lower rates of physical heath and the inability to acquire certain pharmaceutical prescriptions.

According to a survey done in 2009 by Robert Half Management Resources, senior managers can be unemployed up to nine months before it adversely affects their career prospects. This is welcomed news by many who have found that there are fewer mid- and senior-level jobs available. If you are currently a manager looking for opportunities, Robert Half suggests these five tips:

1.  Be flexible. You may not find a job that is an exact match with the
one you held before. Explore ways to apply your expertise in new
areas and highlight your transferable skills.
2.  Network effectively. Make sure your network includes people at
varying experience levels as well as those outside your industry. Use
social networking websites such as LinkedIn to extend your reach.
3.  Know the company. The more you can uncover about a business’
strengths and weaknesses as well as its corporate culture, the better
you can tailor your application materials to the firm’s exact needs.
4.  Consider relocating. Be open to opportunities in other cities or
provinces, particularly if your skills are highly specialized or few
job openings exist locally.
5.  Stay positive. Finding a management position can take longer simply
because there are fewer positions available at any given time. Try
not to become discouraged or it will undermine your confidence.

Also ensure that you are using every resource available to you in your job search. In addition to keeping your LinkedIn profile up-to-date, post your resume on job sites, like  BCjobs.ca, and if relevant to your field, consider creating an online portfolio with samples of your work. As hiring managers are receiving hundreds of resumes, this will allow you to stand out from the crowd while also showcasing your talents. You will be more memorable and have a greater chance of securing the coveted interview.

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