I've been unemployed for 12 months, what can I do?

How do I find a job after long-term unemployment?

Being unemployed for any length of time is stressful but can be especially so if it goes on for an extended period of time. There is no magic answer to finding a new job, but you should use the time to reflect. Try and see it as an opportunity to develop some new skills or change careers completely. Using your time wisely is really important.

The ease with which you will find a new job depends on a number of factors:

  • how long you have been unemployed
  • the specifics of your situation
  • how current you are with your skills
  • what you’ve been doing whilst you’ve been unemployed.

If you’ve been out of work for a year or more, you might find it a bigger struggle to find a job than those who have recently lost their jobs. With the right frame of mind however and careful research and planning, you’ll be back in work in no time.

Read our ten-step action plan to help in your search for a job.

1. Have a plan

Setting out a plan with goals can really help you navigate through a period of long-term unemployment. It will help keep you focused on the positives and you’ll be able to see what progress you are making.

2. Update or learn new skills

You really should be doing everything possible to keep your skills current. Upskilling is probably the best thing you can do to boost your chances of finding a job. Not only will employers like to see your commitment to your personal development, but it will help you stay positive and feel more confident too.

Start by making some constructive plans. For example, you could find an online course to keep your skills fresh to show that you’re willing to learn.

There are lots of free online courses available. For further information visit the National Careers Service website.

3. Brush up on your digital skills

Much of the job search process is now done online, even more so due to the pandemic. Make sure you:

  • Know the best places online for finding advertised jobs
  • Create a LinkedIn profile highlighting your skills and previous roles
  • Use social media to network by connecting with people
  • Learn some tips on doing online interviews.

Read our blog on how to find a job online.

4. Leverage your network

Use the people you know and the people that they know to help you find job opportunities. Reaching out to former colleagues and employers is a great way of keeping in touch with what’s going on in your sector. At the same time, you can informally let people know your situation so they can keep you in mind for any suitable opportunities. Ask them for advice and whether they can introduce you to anyone who may be able to help you in your job search.

How to network like a pro

5. Consider voluntary roles

A voluntary role could be a great way to further your skills and grow your network whilst giving something back. Being in a routine and ‘work’ environment will be a good motivator and help to keep your confidence levels up.

How volunteering can improve your chances of getting a job

6. Consider a change of sector

If you’re struggling to find a job in your preferred sector, it might be time to start thinking outside the box. Firstly, do your research into which companies in your area are recruiting and what skills you might need to learn to land yourself a job there.

7. Update your CV

How you tell your story and how you manage your message is important. Be honest and succinct on your CV about your period out of work. If you were sacked it’s always best to be upfront about it and go on to say what you have learned from it. Lying is definitely not recommended and it may come back to haunt you. It is perfectly acceptable to say in one sentence why you are out of work before quickly moving on to give details of the positive things you have been doing since.

Above all, be honest and focus on how you are trying to turn your luck around, which employers will respect.

How to get your CV noticed

8. Rehearse your answers to interview questions

Once you’re in an interview, you need to be ready to explain the reasons for being unemployed and why it has been an extended period of unemployment. Once you’ve figured out what you are going to say, you will come across more confidently in the interview and you won’t say anything you didn’t mean to.

9. Talk to Inspira’s specialist careers advisers

With a plan of action and some support from the friendly team at Inspira, you will soon be on the right track.

From an initial assessment, Inspira works with individuals to explore their strengths and weaknesses, create a Skills Action Plan, and develop a pathway to help them secure a role.

Read about how we helped David create a competency-based CV.

Inspira works directly with employers who have live vacancies and offer mock interviews to ensure the participants and applicants are as prepared as possible.

10. Consider joining a free pre-employment programme or workshop to help you learn the skills you need to succeed at an interview.

Read Jay’s story to see how this helped him find a role after 18 months out of work.

Listen to Gary’s story and how Inspira helped him after being unemployed for 4 years.

Inspira is here to help you find a job after a period of unemployment. Here’s how you can contact us.

What you should do next

  • Spend some time browsing the content on our website to learn more about preparing for your new role
  • Read about how we’ve helped others in the same situation
  • Pick up the phone and talk to one of our advisers to see how they can help you 0345 658 8647
  • Connect with us via our Facebook page
  • Fill out our form if you’d rather communicate by email and tell us a bit about your situation and if there’s something in particular you would like help with.