Long-term unemployment in sports jobs is detrimental to everyone.

It hurts the job seeker’s confidence, affects family and friends, and even brings negativity to future job searches. Unfortunately, as of January, the number of long-term unemployed (LTU) was at 1.9 million, accounting for 24.4 percent of the unemployed, according to a recent analysis by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

With this overwhelmingly large number of people affected by unemployment, the issue is undoubtedly making it difficult for job seekers to land sports jobs. This is largely due to the stigma surrounding people with employment gaps.

For those feeling stuck, here’s how to get out of a long-term unemployment rut and land sports jobs:

1. Appoint an accountability partner.

It’s easy to become discouraged while unemployed — especially when that unemployment spans weeks or months.

Gaining the confidence to move forward and keep pushing is necessary. That’s why it’s important to give yourself a break and ask a friend or family member to hold you accountable. Sit down with them, explain the difficulties you’re running into with the job search, and be honest about how you’re feeling.

By truly opening up, you’ll both be able to brainstorm ways they can effectively help you find and apply to sports jobs. Set up a job search schedule, create an action plan with daily goals and deadlines, then ask your accountability partner to frequently check in during these times to make sure you’re staying positive and taking action.

Your accountability partner should be someone you trust and admire. This way, they can keep you on schedule and proofread your job search documents. Having a second set of eyes can really boost your chances of getting noticed by recruiters.

2. Go out on the town.

Get up and get out.

If this is the first time you’re dealing with LTU, you could quickly end up on the couch in a downward spiral. Putting on your work clothes, getting out of the house, and talking to your peers can help you get out of any funk unemployment has thrown you into.

Set up outings with friends and show up on time. Prove your value as both a friend and a communicator. Letting your circle see you as reliable may lead to unexpected referrals.

Grab a few of those friends and seek out networking events. Having a wing person by your side will help ease your mind and build your confidence when networking. Don’t forget to dust off your business cards to hand out — or make new ones as a sign of a fresh start.

3. Get creative with your resume.

It’s unfortunate, but many recruiters are turned off by large gaps in your resume. This means it’s your job to get creative and show them within seconds of reading your resume that your previous experiences and skills make you a perfect fit for the position.

After being unemployed for an extended period of time, it’s natural to feel defeated and lose faith. Try a new approach by sending your resume in for critique or to be written by a company specializing in sports jobs, like our free resume services.

As you receive feedback on ways to amp up your resume, get creative. For example, if you’re a videographer and want a job at a sports broadcasting company, record a fun video resume. Or try creating a fun, interactive online resume like Robby Leonardi.

If you’re a designer and want to work at an athletic clothing company, print your previous work-related accomplishments on a pair of weightlifting gloves. This is a unique way to show you can “carry the weight” of work responsibilities, shows off your creativity, and helps you stand out from the crowd.

4. Publish an ebook.

Long-term unemployment offers you more free time than you’ve probably had in a while. Put it to good use and establish yourself as a true expert in your field. Make a list of all the areas you’re an expert in — it could be client relations, sales tactics, or marketing.

From there, write an ebook about your experiences. Include how you’ve put your expertise to use over the years and actionable tips to reinforce your knowledge. Share this content to create a strong personal brand and market yourself to potential sports jobs employers.

Don’t forget to surround yourself with a positive support system while unemployed. Go out, have fun, and keep your confidence up about finding your next career move.

How are you breaking out of long-term unemployment and finding sports jobs?