Out of work for longer than you care to admit? You’re not alone. More than 20 percent of the JOBLESS are professionals and managers who’ve been unemployed at least six months, according to a study by outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas.

That’s why it’s important to get a quick start looking for a new job, says CEO John Challenger. Most job-seekers take the first several months “way too easy,” he says. Use your newly unemployed status to convince hiring managers that you’re undiscovered talent. If you wait too long, they’ll wonder why you haven’t found a job yet.

If you’re already in a long search, prepare a quick and concise answer to that question, but don’t bring it up yourself. Get rid of months on your résumé and simply use years when stating employment dates — but after that, stop rewriting and go out to meet decision makers face to face. And watch your emotional health, Challenger says. “Don’t stop doing the things that give you happiness outside of work.”