Keep your professional skills up-to-date

In July, five million people in the U.S. were considered long-term unemployed—meaning they had been jobless for 27 weeks or more. Career counselors say that as weeks turn into months, job-hunters need to polish and update their skills to stay current. They should look for ways to network while they do so, and avoid spending lots of money. “You want to get the biggest bang for your buck,” says J.T. O’Donnell, a career coach in North Hampton, N.H.

Here are some strategies:

Stay connected to industry associations.

Hit conferences.

Join local interest groups, like the chamber of commerce provide good networking opportunities.

Take classes—in person.

Consider entry-level coursework.

Add advanced skills. Getting a certification can boost your resume.

Write about your industry and connect more online.

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