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Finding a Job When You’re Unemployed

Written by Nickel - 13 Comments

Finding a Job When You're Unemployed

Talk about kicking someone when they’re down… If you’re currently unemployed, you’ll be disappointed to learn that an increasing number of job openings require you to be currently employed or you won’t be considered.

As bad as this sounds, this practice isn’t considered to be discriminatory because unemployment is not a “protected status” like age or race. Nonetheless, New Jersey has already passed a law making it illegal to bar the unemployed for applying for a job, and some other states are considering similar legislation.

What do you think? Should employers be allowed to weed out the currently unemployed when advertising for a job? Or should that practice be banned? As for me, I don’t like the idea in principle, but I do understand why employers would implement it. Presumably they’re trying to stem the tide of applications while trying to weed out the “damaged goods.”

Regardless of your view, since this is already happening, it’s probably best to protect yourself. You might start by sticking with the job that you hate until you’ve found a new position, rather than storming out before starting your job search. Returning to school is another good way to fill that time – and to improve your skillset.

Source: NY Times via Consumerist

Published on August 23rd, 2011
Modified on September 5th, 2011 - 13 Comments
Filed under: Working

About the author: is the founder and editor-in-chief of this site. He's a thirty-something family man who has been writing about personal finance since 2005, and guess what? He's on Twitter!

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13 Responses to “Finding a Job When You’re Unemployed”

  1. 1
    Steve Says:

    I doubt there’s that many ads out there that are overt about it. But this has probably been the subconscious rule, well, forever. Generally there is the assumption that if someone is unemployed, there is a reason for it. And even if they were just unlucky, their skills are probably rusty.

    When the economy is down employers can be afford to do this. As soon as (and if) it picks up again, they’ll have to be less picky and make the effort to evaluate candidates on their own merits.

  2. 2
    Chris Schneider Says:

    Core problem is getting too many resumes. The first cut has to be quick, and brutal. It’s ok if you cut out decent people, if you also cut out most bad people too.

    That’s why things like “college degree” is required, even if the job doesn’t really need it. Same with current employment.

    The whole concept of sending in resumes begging for a job is pretty weak. People with good jobs have friends, networking contacts (to help, and be helped), and shareable “public” work, and such. Show off the things you’ve done.

  3. 3
    Patrick Says:

    I understand the concept of having to make the first cut, but it doesn’t mean I agree with it.

    It’s a lot like dating, when you are single it seems that you can’t get a one girl to talk to you. If you start dating someone all of a sudden multiple girls want to start asking you questions and take an interest in you.

    I think it harkens back to the concept of you always want what you can’t have. Look at the bible for reference of not coveting thy neighbors wife, it doesn’t say anything about coveting the available girls.

  4. 4
    Ryan Says:

    I imagine there will unintended consequences. I agree with the concept and can sympathize with those who are looking and simply can’t find work. I know that as a hiring manager myself it is easy to simply jump past these resumes. As Chris says, there are just too many to go through.

  5. 5
    BG Says:

    Sounds like some hiring mangers should get laid off…
    I’m sure there are some unemployed people who wouldn’t mind vetting each candidate on their merits instead of using a lame criteria to trim the pool.

  6. 6
    Kevin R. Says:

    I’m guessing it’s two fold of HR being over run with resumes and managers preferring people who take initiative (latter would be true if they still accept a application of an under-employed or currently-outside-of-vocation person). In construction, I can tell you my boss views someone who survives on long term unemployment as risk of milking a workman’s comp. claim in the future, but $310 a week roughly in the $10-$12 per hour range of laborer than it would be for a $60K a year white collar job [though we accept every application, but longer unemployed less likely my boss will look at the application -- so there are ways around these types of laws in a recession when hundreds applying for one position].

  7. 7
    Dana Says:

    I’ve definitely seen evidence of that. I have highly skilled clients in my program, multiple degrees and unemployed. I can understand unemployment being weighed between two equally qualified candidates but not from consideration all together as circumstances change. Thanks for mentioning going back to school, that’s a great option. Volunteering is another possibility. It’s a great way to keep your skills up, learn new ones, network, or even switch careers.

  8. 8
    Kelsey @ Zero to One Million Challenge Says:

    Wow, I wasn’t aware this was happening. I kind of understand both sides, but in this economy with job losses as they are, you would think companies would try to pick up the unemployed — the unemployed candidates would likely agree to a lower salary as opposed to the employed candidates. It would save them money. It shouldn’t be allowed anyway, in my opinion.

  9. 9
    Kevin S Says:

    “damaged goods.”? How could anyone consider someone unemployed for whatever reason damaged goods? Do employers really think that way? If a company laid people off due to down sizing, those people are now damaged goods in the eyes of a new prospective employer? Ridiculous.
    Their employment status should not be a factor whatsoever.

  10. 10
    Jerry Says:

    They have no idea WHY someone is out of work. The reasons could be anything! If it leads to a tidal wave of applications then so be it. But, people need a fair shot a applying for a job. These people out of jobs need money, shelter, insurance for their families, etc. I do think that it’s kicking someone while they’re down. Good for New Jersey for doing something about it.

  11. 11
    Tommy Z Says:

    If you are an employer, I support your right to make decisions for your company even if sometimes it is the wrong decision.

    What would really make more sense is to ban people that are long-term unemployed vs. somebody recently unemployed. When a person is unemployed long-term, their skills may become rusty and there is probably a good reason they have been unemployed that long.

    Of course if you happen to find yourself in the long-term unemployed category, do something to change that. Volunteer your time & meet new contacts. Go to school. Start a business. Work part-time. Just do something!

  12. 12
    Whit Says:

    This is a very disappointing article. I have come to the conclusion most employers are looking out for themselves. I was always told that if you take care of your employees the Company will be successful. Well, that has changed. Employers are looking out for #1. That is the reason why you have to “Invest in You”. It’s really time to change, for those who have been told to go to school,get a good education, get a great Job. Actually, something was left out; You may loose your Job or you may not get a Job at all. What would we have done differently if we knew this was a possibility. We would have invested in ourselves, not other companies. Focus on your talents, Go to school, get a good education and “Invest in You”. Whit@clearfinancialconcepts.com

  13. 13
    Tina H Says:

    I find that employers and/or recruiters would find the unemployed damaged goods. A lot of these unemployed have more experience and knowledge than those conducting the interviews. It’s not like it was when unemployment was very low… I’m currently unemployed and have been victim of this type of recruiting practice. Let’s hope for their sakes they never end up on the the other end and find themselves unemployed

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