You may have heard that employers have a preference for hiring people who already have jobs. If you haven’t heard, please refrain from smashing your computer in anger at the news. You should refrain from smashing your computer for many reasons, one of which is that at Spark Hire we can help you out. We’re going to tell you why employers have a preference for hiring the employed, and what you can learn from it. So put your computer back down.
Hiring the employed has been a trend for years. Since hiring is really difficult, employers like to use quantifiable means of deciding whether or not you will be a good employee- like a college degree for example. Having a job is generally a sign that you are employable. If you are unemployed, then you should think of ways to stay employed in doing something while you are out of a 9-5 job. Keep as close to your line of work as possible. When surveyed, HR professionals said they preferred a candidate who had held an unpaid or volunteer position related to their field as opposed to a paid but unrelated position. Consider temp or freelance work, submit articles to a local newspaper or magazine in your field, or even volunteer for a non-profit organization you admire.
You can put these activities on your resume like a job and show potential employers that you are hard-working and, in fact, employable. You also might learn something about yourself in the process. Perhaps you prefer walking dogs to writing depositions— and you will keep your professional skills sharp.
De-sharpening, err, deteriorating skills are another reason why employers like to hire people with jobs. If you haven’t worked in your field for a while, you will likely be less savvy than people who are currently in the thick of things. Work to remedy this. In addition to doing part-time or volunteer projects, consider taking a class or doing some other professional development. Take advantage of your unemployed status to further your skills rather than allowing them to languish. Pay special attention to skills on job postings that you might be lacking. Never learned how to work Excel? Stymied by HTML? Give yourself a crash course, or offer to cook dinner for your techy cousin in exchange for a lesson. Continue to attend conferences in your field, if you can, and stay in contact with your professional peers.
Stay sharp, stay connected, and no one—well, except you—will care whether you currently receive a paycheck
How do you stay sharp between jobs? Let us know in the comments below, or Tweet me: @ithinkther4iamb