Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Jobseekers, Be tougher than the recession

Almost everyday now, I am losing colleagues who are retrenched. Not much can be done during this downturn. I could be next to bid goodbye....you'll never know.

The current recession has hurt a lot of workers and their families, and many analysts predict things may get worse in the near term prior to any recovery. Job losses are high, with many sectors of the economy laying off employees. Times are tough, but that is NOT the signal to just roll over and die. You need to develop a tough mindset. Hey, you were here before this recession, and you'll be around when it is gone.

The trick is to never quit. If you were just laid off from a job (or facing an upcoming layoff) develop or update your resume. Get in touch with friends and associates and network like mad. Have a set of "interview clothes" always ready. Be willing to work outside your regular profession. If you have any kind of degree, chances are you could be a substitute teacher. Health care jobs are probably as close to recession-proof as any line of work can possibly be. Working as a nurse's aide is hard and mostly thankless, but the world will always need caregivers, and it provides a steady paycheck.

Make a personal inventory of your strengths and skills. Chances are, you know how to do a lot of things, if given the chance. Look for every opportunity, and when you don't see one, find a way to CREATE one. Without a doubt, the current recession is tough. Be tougher!

Laid off? Try a new approach to your job search

There's nothing easy about job searching. What's frustrating for many job seekers is a disappointing response rate. However, it's important to note that a job search is a numbers game. For example: If you get your resume in front of 1000 employers, you should get 10-50 quality responses leading up to 5 interviews. If you don't pay attention to 'how' you are sending your resumes, your actions might only serve to put your resume in a pile with hundreds of others.

Consider a more focused approach to your job search. A search that increases the number and quality of responses by using a targeted list of industries and decision makers who are looking for people with your skills. This new type of search also employs an affordable delivery system that ensures your resume will be seen by the right person.

How to jump start your job search

There are ways to improve your chances of getting hired in a tough job economy. One way is to take advantage of local resources like career centers, and job networking groups. Career Centers can help you organize your job search efforts, restructure your resume and cover letter, and improve your interview technique.

Also, think about how you can improve your skill set. Computer skills and knowledge of software are often requirements of many jobs. Learning programs like Word, Excel, and understanding how to navigate the internet can set you apart from the pack. Online networking sites are also excellent resources for uncovering job leads. There are many career and business focused social networking sites that can assist you in your job search and help you post your resume.

Finally, don't underestimate your job history and experience. It's easy to overlook everyday natural skills and qualities that are valuable to employers. Make sure your resume lists all of your accomplishments and unique skills.

Job seekers network for motivation, hope

As unemployment rates rise, local professionals get together to share leads, tips and support. Experts and networking group leaders offer this advice for job seekers: The bigger your network is, the better. Let family members, friends, friends of friends and strangers know you're looking for work. Try to visit a variety of networking groups - some close to home, others far away.

Come up with a branding statement, a quick line about why someone should hire you. Carry a resume with you at all times. Get business networking cards, easily found online at little to no cost. They should include your name, e-mail address, phone number and relevant skills or a branding statement.

With unemployment rates reaching highs not seen in decades, career experts say networking has become more important than ever. New networking and support groups are springing up, and old ones are seeing new life. Employment experts estimate that more than 70% of jobs are found through personal contacts, such as those found at networking groups. Job seekers who participate in these groups say the networks offer leads, tips, motivation and, most importantly, hope in tough times.

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