Being out of work should not kill your next job opportunity

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Don't let your skills fall apart

Situation 

May be you have been without paid work for a long time and you are struggling to get an interview or may be you are getting interviews but you are not being passed onto the second stage.  Have you considered that the length of time you have been without work is affecting how recruiters view you?  Are you also worried about what this length of time away is doing to your technical skills?

Very often here at I&A Recruitment we interview candidates who may have not been working for 6 months or longer.  We like interviewing candidates in this situation because we often see that they are very motivated, eager to work and have a thirst to learn but unfortunately, most have let themselves down because of what they did not do during their time away from the office.

Bad News

For most technical people it can take 2/3 years before we become really experienced at something technical (thinking of Software Developers but this could apply to other technical roles where specific technical skills are needed to complete a role).  You have spent all this time learning, making mistakes and improving the quality of your work until you can see it in your sleep and fix issues with your eyes shut.  You think you are never going to forget this because you have spent so much time doing it but unfortunately from our experience you are very very wrong!

Previously I have worked as a Software Developer and I can understand Java, HTML, Javascript and MySQL easily.  Show me a piece of code in any of these languages and I can tell you what it does and how it works and ask me to write code with any of these and I can do it but I would only call my self proficient in MySQL and Java.  Why, because of how often I use it but more importantly when was the last time I used it…

For myself when I write Java and MySQL I hardly go to the internet to look up coding examples, building & sorting objects in Java – easy or writing MySQL procedures, creating/altering tables and building tables is also easy.  Now get me to read Javascript and I can, get me to describe how it works and I am ok but get me to write code and I can do it but ask me to write an Ajax call and I will be onto my best friend Google for the next thirty minutes.  I can honestly say if I was to interview myself as a Javascript developer at worst I would not get a second interview and at best I would get a job offer but likely I would not be happy with the compensation.

Good News

Learning a technical language takes many years to learn and only a few months to get rusty but luckily only a couple of months to get good at it again!  So how do you solve this and how does putting in this work help you secure that second stage interview?  Easy keep doing the work!  Build a game (Sudoku, Connect 4 or any other game or hobby interest), work with a non profit or work on some open source projects.  My advice would be to do it weekly at the very least.  Secondly and this is where it can help you get more interviews – post your work publicly and include the information within your Resume (for example with Software Developers post your work on GitHub and include the link).  Most importantly this will demonstrate to any recruiter that you are still active, that you are still passionate about the work that you did/do and that your length of time outside of work has not damaged your ability to complete the work you are paid to do.

So what do you think of this posting, if anybody has any ideas or suggests for people who may be out of work – please post your comments below.

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