Being out of work is hard, but getting back to work can be harder.
Besides the social stigma that comes with being jobless, the saleability and employability of the person also takes a hard hit.
Take the case of Parmeet Jain, an accountant in a company based in Dubai Media City.
Parmeet, who does not want to reveal his real name, tells of his ordeal as he was out of work for two years.
“The slowdown hit many people and I was one of them. It was a difficult phase with very few jobs coming my way and if I did make it to the interview round, I was inundated with questions about my job-loss and my inability to land something within a few months,” he says.
“I started avoiding people as the first question was about what I was doing.
“I left Dubai but am back as I landed another job. Of course, the growth that should have happened in these two years has been wiped out, but I’m glad I’m starting at where I left, or, to be precise was made to leave,” he said, adding it’s a great feeling to let people know on “my LinkedIn and Facebook page about my new job.”
A long period of involuntary unemployment can be one of the worst things that can happen to a professional.
The fear that one’s skills have deteriorated to the point that s/he will not be considered for a good position are difficult to deal with and the financial mess that comes along with it only aggravates the problems.
“This is a really tough subject as a lot of clients are not willing to interview candidates who have been out of work for too long unless they have a valid reason for doing so.
“As a jobseeker, it is important to make sure all gaps in your career timeline are accounted for,” Caroline Gentles, Senior Consultant at Cobalt HR Consultancy, tells Emirates 24|7.
Being out of work for a long period of time is definitely a difficult time, but it does not mean that you will be marginalised and squeezed out of the job market.
“Applying for a job and hoping to get it after being out of work for over a year may appear to be an impossible task, but it really isn't,” says Ash Athawale, Recruitment Manager at Reed Specialist Recruitment.
The reasons, however, should be valid and you should come out as honest in your explanations.
“You must have justification and reasons to explain this gap. A good HR professional or recruiter wants to know the reasons why you left your last opportunity.
“Were you terminated or made redundant? Did you not get along with your manager/co-workers? Was it the commute? Did you resign? The reasons for the gap in employment must be clear and consistent. Prospective employers will verify so be truthful,” says Athawale.
But, having more than one gap in your career can be worrying as this may reflect badly on you rather than the company you’ve been with or the circumstances.
“Have you had numerous gaps in employment prior to this present one? If these gaps are a consistent occurrence, then maybe the issue is with the individual,” explains the Reed expert.
At the end of the day, it also depends on your capabilities as a professional and your experience level.
“It depends on your experience level and the value you bring to the table. A senior executive with 20 years’ experience who then takes a one-year career break will in theory find it easier to find work as opposed to a junior professional, as it is harder to justify why s/he has not been actively employed,” explains Hasnain Qazi, Middle East Business Manager at Huxley Associates.