Can Networking Help the Long-Term Unemployed?

Network to get work.

If you’ve been out of the work force for six months or longer, will you be discriminated against by a potential employer?

According to Ofer Sharone of the MIT Sloan School of Management, that just may be the case.  He points out that long-term unemployment is not decreasing at the same rate as overall unemployment – something he attributes to discrimination during the hiring process.

According to Sharone, “people with no relevant prior experience are much more likely to get a callback, who have short-term unemployment, than people who have relevant experience but are long-term unemployed.”

So, how can a long-term unemployed job seeker improve their chances to find work and combat potential discrimination? Sharone says there’s a simple answer: networking.

Social networking is one of the best things a job seeker can do to avoid employer bias. Through networking, job seekers have the opportunity to connect with like-minded professionals and establish a supportive community. These connections can provide a job seeker with crucial contacts. Networking also alerts job seekers to opportunities that may not be advertised in traditional forums. Approaching a potential employer with the name of a shared contact may be just what it takes to establish immediate familiarity and overcome potential discrimination.  Networking has the ability to positively affect the outcome of an interview.

So, what are you waiting for? Start working your networks!

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