When’s the last time you looked for a new job?

If you’re like many Americans, it’s been 5-10 years. Here’s how to change that.

Where’s your resume? Is it lost in your computer in some long-forgotten folder? Or is it printed out on yellowing paper at the bottom of a file cabinet?

If so, you’re not alone.

In a new survey by the temporary employment firm Accountemps, 48 percent of workers said it’s been at least five years since they’ve looked for a new job – and 30 percent said it’s been more than a decade.

The survey didn’t ask why workers have stayed put for so long. Maybe they’re happy in their current jobs. More likely, the recession has made upward mobility a lot more difficult. In fact, the same day Accountemps released its survey, the jobs site CareerBuilder released its own. This one focused on the “long-term unemployed” – those who have been out of work for 12 months and longer.

The results were depressing: “30 percent of workers who were previously employed full time and who have been out of work for 12 months or longer said they haven’t had a single job interview since they became unemployed.”

And it’s not their fault, says CareerBuilder’s Human Resources Director Rosemary Haefner. “There are many talented people in the U.S. who are having a tough time finding a job – not because of a lack of ability, but because of ongoing challenges in the economy.”

For those unfortunate folks, Consolidated Credit offers 10 tips for Surviving a Layoff. If you already have a job but want to polish up your resume, there’s no shortage of advice online. However, Consolidated Credit suggests you check out what the two largest job-recruiting websites recommend…

  • Monster.com has an entire resume section. Just scroll down to the middle of the page. (The top is all about getting you to pay for personalized resume advice.)
  • Careerbuilder offers a slew of Job Search Strategies, but again, you need to ignore the pitches to pay for their services – their free advice is pretty darn good.

But a word of advice: Don’t pursue a new job just because the salary is higher.

That may seem an odd thing for debt relief company to say, since higher income gives you a greater ability to pay the bills. But in truth, better budgeting is about curbing spending, not chasing dollars.

Keep in mind that if you take a high-paying, high-stress job, you may also end up living larger outside of work. Often, high-stress workers have expensive hobbies or more extravagance to make up for a hard life at the office. You may also end up eating out more and having to pay more for child care. So in the end that higher salary can lead to higher expenses. Remember that’s it’s really all about the bottom line.

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