How to Keep Big-Job Hunting
It’s ugly out there in the job market, where many people have given up on looking for work. (If they hadn’t, imagine how much higher unemployment rates would look!) With millions unemployed, there are plenty who are simply tired of the overwhelming competition for every job they interview for.
But self-help writers, perhaps bucking the trend, are exhorting job seekers to keep at it. And they’re on to something. Nobody can promise you a job, or a dream job, right away. But these tips will help you compete.
Prepare for an extended search. Jobs in this market are not like needles in haystacks; they’re like needles in pincushions, and everybody is grabbing for the easy ones to find. Adjust your finances and your expectations to extend your staying power, says book author Duncan Mathison.
“Stopping the search until the economy improves is like the farmer who will go hungry at harvest because they didn’t plant seeds in the spring. Keep planting seeds,” he adds.
Put another way: no matter how many jobs are available or defined in a given city or a given company, you only need one.
Get truly tough. In the movie First Knight, Lancelot is asked how he became a master swordsman. His answer was, “You have to not care if you live or die.” Consider a similar trick. In a job interview, you must have the belief that you are the perfect person for the job and enable the employer to recognize that. But remember that you’re the one providing the goods, and that the employer who doesn’t hire you is missing out on your skills.
“You also have to take the attitude that at this moment, it doesn’t matter whether or not you get the job: the more you come across as a person of value, who has to be convinced to come provide that value to the company, the easier it is,” says Stephen Balzac, president of 7 Steps Ahead, an organizational development firm.
You’ve seen out more resumes than you can count. During that time, you’ve also thrown out a lot of junk mail. See the point?
It’s a social networking world. Build your online connections on services like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. Then use that platform to make value-added observations about your line of work and job searching. “You never know where you electronic connections can lead,” says Noah Blumenthal, an executive coach.
But be careful how you type. Anecdotal reports suggest that employers have often ceased consideration of an applicant due to a social networking gaffe, with reasons ranging from provocative/inappropriate photographs and information to candidates having poor communication skills. About half that many said they hired someone after getting a strong social-networking vibe.
Make it personal. So make sure you set a goal to meet at least 100 people, in the real world, every month. Troll Facebook. Go to professional meetings. Ask 10 friends to introduce you to 10 new people. It doesn’t matter if they are in your field. “Meet up and let the new connections take you where they will,” says Blumenthal.
That can include in your old stomping grounds, temporarily, on a trial basis. “Volunteer your skills and experience. If you take on new projects with the same rigor and energy that you did at work, then your mind and skills don’t atrophy,” says career expert Heather Huhman.
You may learn enough to write a pathbreaking article or marketing plan. If so, make it public: print it on glossy paper with a nice graphic. (You can do a lot with ClipArt.) That way, says Blumenthal, you’ll have an aura of buzz, “a press kit instead of a resume.”
And in this market, if you want the prize you have to find a way to steal the spotlight.
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