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Chesney-Offutt, of Sandwich, Ill., said she took a 4-hour-a-week job teaching voice lessons so she could tell prospective employers she was employed.

“They didn’t care I was unemployed,” she said. “They just wanted to know if I could teach voice lessons.”

The strategy worked and she eventually got a job in insurance customer service, taking calls from customers reporting claims. It doesn’t allow her to use her information technology skills, but she’s glad to be working.