As if job hunting on a good day was not hard enough, the last few years have added a significant challenge for new college graduates, the unemployed, and those looking to switch jobs. “The Recession” has caused many employers to shed jobs, reduce overhead and freeze hiring until further notice.
What do you do if you’re looking for a job in this anti-job climate?
Thankfully, all is not lost. I have a few ideas you should take into consideration if you’re out there and looking without any luck.
- Dedicate Yourself. Job hunting is always a full-time job, but in a recession it can feel like you’re working a double shift. Commit to pushing through with all you’ve got.
- Quit Moping Around. Frustration, sadness, and feeling sorry for yourself won’t get you anywhere (maybe a short-lived pity party, that’s all). No one wants to be around a whiny loser. Get it together and get out there with force.
- Consider the Industry. Specific sectors of the economy have been hit harder than others. If you’re recently laid off, you know this first-hand. Your first instinct in this case may be to look for jobs in other companies within the same line of work. But if they’re laying off too, they are unlikely to hire new staff, and you have every newly unemployed person in your industry looking for the same job.
- Network Before You Go. If you’re graduating or still employed, there’s no time like the present to start developing networks inside and outside your industry. It’s good practice even if you don’t plan to be looking for a new job anytime soon. Networks take time to develop – start sooner than later.
- Develop an Online Identity. If the Internet contains no information about you, employers won’t use it to make a decision. But chances are, you already have an online identity. And if not, you may want to. The key is ensuring that employers get to know your personal side and see the best of your character, not the drunken party photos.
- Consider Self-Employment. Working for yourself doesn’t always mean starting a small business. Plenty of people are freelancing for extra money while they continue the job hunt.
- Consider Kind-of Self-Employment. While many companies are no longer looking to hire new staff full-time, there’s still a lot of work out there to be done, and someone has to do it. Companies may be more than willing to negotiate part-time work or on an as-needed contract basis to perform services. This is a partial win-win for both sides.
- Hunt in Other Markets. Although nation-wide, employment numbers are falling, the job market has some resemblance to real estate – you can still find locations where jobs are possible. Consider relocating if the option is available.
- What Color is Your Parachute? No list of job-hunting tips would be complete without this book. It helped me ‘find myself’ when I was first job-hunting and it can help you get focused on what you want and how to get it.
- Use Resources Wisely. If you’re not currently working, your funds may already be dangerously low. Good job hunting, particularly in certain industries, requires a lot of printing, travel, and other expenses. Get creative and get frugal with how you handle these, or you may find yourself without a resume.
- Get in People’s Face. Gone are the days where you could send a resume to a company and expect an interview call. Find out who you need to see and request face to face meetings, no matter how short.
- Come Unbelievably Prepared. Don’t go to an interview expecting the big man to tell you all about your new job and what the company does. Know what the company is about, its latest clients and projects, challenges and successes, and come prepared to defend your position on why the company desperately needs to hire you.
- Go Where You Think The Jobs Aren’t. Companies rarely scream out loud when they need a new hire – instead, they reach out to a wide network of friends, associates, and other colleagues to find them talent that has a proven track record. That’s why networking is so important. Expand yours and make sure companies know you’re looking – through whatever means necessary.
- Exhaust Your Biggest Pay-offs First. Again, I recommend What Color is Your Parachute for this one, but there are certain things that are clear right off the bat – you probably won’t get a job from an internet job board or by blindly sending out a million resumes. Do what works best, and do it first, before you consider all of your other options.
- Stand Out From The Crowd. Make sure employers see that you’re one of a kind and are willing to take a risk on you. Sometimes, something as small as sending a thank-you note following a meeting/interview can make all the difference in the world in how professional you come off.
- Consider Volunteering. Working for free may sound like the last thing you want to do, but there are many full-time paid positions available in volunteer organizations, and they are largely filled by existing volunteers.
- Don’t Assume They’re Not Hiring. Just because a company says they’re not hiring does not mean they’re not trying to find better, cheaper, and more effective ways to get more done in less time and for less money. Be the solution that brings them what they want.
Best of all, stay positive and keep your head up – a job is ‘just a temporary expression of your current passion or responsibility.’ Find your next expression.