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how long is too long to be unemployed?

Postby junglebrodda » September 20th, 2016, 10:59 am

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and would being unemployed "too long" be of some concern?
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Re: how long is too long to be unemployed?

Postby Mr-914 » September 21st, 2016, 6:58 am

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It's more a question of what was happening during that period. I've interviewed a few people that traveled the world for a year after graduation. Nothing wrong with that as long as you are ready to settle down and give me a couple years of great work now. I also know a designer who would work for 2-3 years and then travel for 6-12 months at a time. He did that for at least a decade and always managed to find a job when he was ready.

Basically, have a great portfolio and don't worry about this until the interview. Then, have a better answer ready than, "I'm a horrible designer".
Ray Jepson

"The key to success in this business is to find a boss who doesn't care." - Mike Rowe

Re: how long is too long to be unemployed?

Postby Cyberdemon » September 21st, 2016, 8:37 am

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If your story makes sense, I would not judge time off as a huge issue. Often times people need to take time off to help out with personal/family issues and that's fine.

Likewise you can always tell people you were "freelancing" if your actual story had to do more with just inability or lack of desire to work.

If your portfolio and skills are still up to date and relevant that will be important. Do a couple projects on your own to keep your skills and material up to date and weave that into your story when you start to interview. IE "I took time off to recover from being a heroin addict, but I designed this great thing while I had that free time"

Re: how long is too long to be unemployed?

Postby Variant » September 21st, 2016, 8:51 am

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junglebrodda wrote:and would being unemployed "too long" be of some concern?


Last time around looking for work I was unemployed for over four-and-a-half years. :( Wasn't getting rejected for jobs or anything, just wasn't finding ANY openings or getting any interviews.

I don't pretend to understand the job market at all, it's just been really rough for me personally. YMMV.

Re: how long is too long to be unemployed?

Postby junglebrodda » September 21st, 2016, 10:07 am

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Mr-914 wrote:It's more a question of what was happening during that period. I've interviewed a few people that traveled the world for a year after graduation. Nothing wrong with that as long as you are ready to settle down and give me a couple years of great work now. I also know a designer who would work for 2-3 years and then travel for 6-12 months at a time. He did that for at least a decade and always managed to find a job when he was ready.

Basically, have a great portfolio and don't worry about this until the interview. Then, have a better answer ready than, "I'm a horrible designer".


makes sense, if the work is good enough everything should take care of itself (provided the fit is right with company/team)...but it would be right to assume that it would be something that would need to be addressed??

Variant wrote:
junglebrodda wrote:and would being unemployed "too long" be of some concern?


Last time around looking for work I was unemployed for over four-and-a-half years. :( Wasn't getting rejected for jobs or anything, just wasn't finding ANY openings or getting any interviews.

I don't pretend to understand the job market at all, it's just been really rough for me personally. YMMV.


that sounds rough! what was the conversation around that when you did get interviews, if any?
no ideas original....there is nothing new under the sun...it is never what you do but how it is done

Re: how long is too long to be unemployed?

Postby Variant » September 22nd, 2016, 5:24 pm

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junglebrodda wrote:that sounds rough! what was the conversation around that when you did get interviews, if any?


It was brutal. I was unemployed from Sept of '08 to Feb of '13. I had two interviews during that time (not counting bullshit interviews with job agencies that didn't have any actual positions available):

- The first one was with a mechanical contractor for Intel in Beaverton, OR. just after I left my previous job. Not really product design/development related. The manager said he was really impressed with me & my background, but they wanted someone with BIM experience. I offered to crash course it on the company and he was on board with that, but his superior wanted someone to hit the ground running.

[INSERT HUGE GAP OF TIME HERE]

- The next interview I had was in early 2013, about six months after I moved back to Phoenix, AZ. A local headhunter found me and hooked me up with an interview with a consumer products company here in Scottsdale. Everything went splendidly. Interviewed with the mfg. manager, the CMO, and the CEO. Again, they were all impressed. They called my references and I was hired without a hitch.

Frankly, I've never had much issue with interviews/getting hired... GETTING interviews is impossible however. If I do get to the interview stage, I've gotten the job the vast majority of the time.

To be perfectly honest, I hate the trajectory my career has taken. Being a designer was a stupid career choice, IME. It's not that I don't enjoy design (far from it), but getting work is just way too much of a pain in the crank. I'm 39 at this point and just burnt out trying to find work between positions. :roll: The last place I was at just went bankrupt and we all got laid off in cycles. I've been out again for about three months now and it's déjà vu with the job hunt nonsense again. I'd do something else, but what gainful thing can one do with design experience? CAD monkey and barista are the only things that come to mind. If the pay was close, I think I'd rather froth people's lattes. :lol:

Anywho, sorry for the rant. Hope you have better luck than myself. The market seems to have recovered for a lot of job titles. Apparently, ours is not one of them.

Re: how long is too long to be unemployed?

Postby junglebrodda » September 22nd, 2016, 10:41 pm

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Variant wrote:


#YIKES! appreciate the candor of your experience, so no need to apologize! i can see how that can grind on a person, and i wish you a much easier time with the job search this time out!!
no ideas original....there is nothing new under the sun...it is never what you do but how it is done

Re: how long is too long to be unemployed?

Postby Cyberdemon » September 23rd, 2016, 7:55 am

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If you're going that long without work I think you have to question a couple things:

-Are you in the right location? Some areas simply do not have design work, and at that point unless you can freelance long distance finding a job will be hard (because there aren't any to be found).

-Are you maximizing your networks? Design conferences, meet ups, all provide opportunities to get your name out there and meet new people who might be able to help you.

-Are you actively pushing your design work in your free time, or waiting for work.

The recession in 2008-2011 was pretty rough for all jobs in general, but coming from the position of someone who looks for hires there are two possibilities:

-Your resume was blocked by an automatic filter or internal recruiter, and a real designer never saw it. That is especially common for large corporations.

-Your resume made it through, but your portfolio didn't match the level of expectation so there was no callback

Ultimately you need to be in a market that has design work available - if you are then the next piece you really need to focus on is your portfolio. Once you've got a portfolio you're really proud of and feel is competitive you can start to make contacts and work on getting your foot in the door.

Re: how long is too long to be unemployed?

Postby junglebrodda » September 23rd, 2016, 1:40 pm

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Cyberdemon wrote:If you're going that long without work I think you have to question a couple things:

-Are you maximizing your networks? Design conferences, meet ups, all provide opportunities to get your name out there and meet new people who might be able to help you.

-Are you actively pushing your design work in your free time, or waiting for work.

-Your resume was blocked by an automatic filter or internal recruiter, and a real designer never saw it. That is especially common for large corporations.



...definitely not a networker- though i have had more than a few people look out for me, as such i don't meet or stay in contact with a lot of new people and i have to admit that linkedin remains a complete mystery to me...i only recently found out that only paid membership allows for any messaging beyond requesting to join someone's professional network...curious how/why would one's resume be blocked or filtered out?
Last edited by junglebrodda on September 23rd, 2016, 4:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.
no ideas original....there is nothing new under the sun...it is never what you do but how it is done

Re: how long is too long to be unemployed?

Postby Cyberdemon » September 23rd, 2016, 2:55 pm

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Certain organizations use software to hunt for key words and only bubble up those that end up with matches.

So if your resume doesn't hit enough of those terms IE you have expertise in Creo but not "Pro-E" then you get a 0 for those terms.

I've seen it first hand from both internal and external recruiters who don't have the complete picture of understanding but are meant to look for certain terms/skills or more importantly, big named companies as an indicator of skills, experience or fit.

Re: how long is too long to be unemployed?

Postby Variant » September 12th, 2017, 9:35 am

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All my keywords blow, I guess.


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