Why You Need a Job to Get a Job

The negative effect of long-term unemployment on a candidate’s chances of getting hired is one of the most unfortunate Catch-22’s of our time. It’s the old paradox of “you need experience to get the job and you need the job to get experience,” except that now this experience has an expiration date. When it comes to employers shutting the door on the long-term unemployed, the magic number seems to be 9 or more consecutive months of unemployment, in which the candidate is still mired when they apply.According to an article by Ben Casselman at the Wall Street Journal, this last detail of still being stuck in a long stretch of joblessness when candidates are applying for positions is the real sticking point. In a forthcoming survey referenced in the article, Swedish researchers found that large gaps in a candidate’s employment history did not matter so much as long as they were currently employed. The researchers found that “One year of work experience is enough to reverse the negative signal of one year of past unemployment,” which basically brings us back to the paradox of needing a job to get a job. The only good news here for the long term unemployed is that, once they do manage to find a job, their stretch of unemployment will not follow them for the rest of their careers. To read the full article from the Wall Street Journal, click the link below.

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