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I was laid off in February as part of my employer (An airline) cutting costs. I am an IT contractor, so was one of the first to go. We are getting to about 6 months of unemployment and that is supposedly where you are deemed long term unemployed and your employability drops.

Is this true, why is this the case, and what can be done about it so that I do not end up among the forever unemployed?

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    You're asking us to predict the future. We can't do that. In any case, is your IT experience solely connected to the airline industry? Or can you try to branch out to a different industry? The airline industry is not going to recover for a while and it's going to be super competitive. But if you're lucky enough, your IT skills should be transferrable to a different industry, assuming you focus on the skills you possess that are the most in-demand right now. Jul 13 '20 at 4:12
  • Way too many unknowns for even an educated guess.
    – BSMP
    Jul 13 '20 at 4:15
  • If you were a contractor, you were self-employed and did not have an employer. And cannot be "unemployed", only temporarily out of contracts. Can you clarify this, is it different in your country?
    – nvoigt
    Jul 13 '20 at 5:23
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History says that the answer is yes.

I have read a lot of posts on LinkedIn about how employers will understand because "there is a pandemic going on."

Unfortunately, discrimination against the long term unemployed became prominent during the Great Recession and I doubt that anyone was unaware of that.

The assumption, if someone has been unemployed for more than 6 months, is that many employers have had their resume cross their desk and said no. People tend not to want to go against the crowd consensus and because presumably hundreds of other employers have rejected you, employers assume that rejecting you is also the wise choice.

A pandemic may make it less likely that employers have sifted through and already rejected you, but that risk is not going to go away. Them understanding doesn't reduce the risk to them as employers.

How do you mitigate this?

Basically you should find something to do.

Have a friend with a startup? Ask them to give you a job, even if it is 4 hours a week. A friend who was struggling to find his first software engineering job (he had no internships) solved it by working for a startup a friend ran for a couple months.

Or you could do some open-source work. Or you could have your own startup project.

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    or get a job digging ditches or moving furniture..... when jobs are scarce best not to be too fussy.
    – Kilisi
    Jul 13 '20 at 8:53
  • ... More schooling of some sort. Volunteering? Jul 13 '20 at 21:22
  • I did volunteering to get back in to the field. It took me 3 years to get back into IT post Y2K and 9/11 (NY Metro area) Jul 14 '20 at 15:26

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