It's also a plus when networking and interviewing to point to what she's doing right now so she doesn't have the burden of explaining that as a mom she's an expert in conflict resolution and management household finances, which are important, but not as impressive as on the job experience in her desired field. Hayes says her current internship is received better by prospective employers than her volunteer PTA work because it's directly related to her career goal.
3: Gain a specific new skill that's needed to land a targeted job
Joseph Connolly, 34, worked in information technology and was downsized in June 2009 when the company sold his division. He went to a job search seminar hosted by a technical staffing firm that had just started an intern co-op to help people just like him.
Connolly wanted to get into project management because he thought it would make him more desirable to employers, but that's not where his prior experience was. So he secured an internship as a project manager with a non-profit. Now he's very optimistic because he sees a slow rise in hiring and he has something more than just IT experience to offer. He has the one-two punch of IT and project management experience, which he says employers are finding much more appealing.
Most empowering to him, he says, is the reaction he gets from hiring managers when he answers the question, "What have you been doing since you lost your job?" He says there's a "visible positive reaction" -- one that most jobseekers unfortunately don't get -- because he actually has something valuable to share about what he's doing right now.