||When You Think You’ve ‘Tried Everything’
To Find A New Job, Try This… With the national unemployment rate hovering near 10%, many people may be feeling as if they have “tried everything” to find a job. This is a time when you need to continually re-examine every component of your job-search, and be open to new and different strategiesAlthough this is the toughest time in decades to find a job, people are continuing to become
re-employed every day. Lack of success may be due to making the same mistakes over and over again, not knowing how to best capitalize on opportunities, and repeatedly using the same approaches without learning or employing new tactics
For job-seekers who are feeling they have “tried everything,” as well as those who aren’t at that point yet, we offer the following “Tips and Advice”:
- Customize all your communications to fit each prospective employer. Not just your cover letters, but your resumes and e-mails must also be customized to showcase your experience that is related to the job opportunity
- Adopt the “75% Qualified Rule.” Mainly target jobs for which you have at least
75% of the stated qualifications, and don’t try to stretch your actual experience too far. Many people are wasting their time – and the time of those who screen resumes – by applying to jobs regardless of their actual experience.
- Volunteer at hospitals, churches, and other nonprofit groups. In addition to performing a valuable service for groups that need help in these difficult times, volunteering gives you an opportunity to make networking contacts, keep your skills fresh, and try doing new tasks in which you don’t have experience.
- Volunteer to serve as a pro bono resource for nonprofit groups. “Those in professional services such as accounting, public relations, marketing, law, and other fields can volunteer to become an unpaid resource for nonprofits. It may also assist you in adding higher-level networking contacts, such as the nonprofits’ board members.
- Have as many face-to-face meetings as you can. Don’t over-rely on online job postings and sending e-mails. Also, expand your professional career network to include friends, relatives, neighbors, church members, parents of children’s classmates, and personally update them about your situation.
- Join groups of other out-of-work people for regular meetings, breakfasts, and
get-togethers. You can exchange networking contacts, receive an outsider’s perspective on your job-search efforts, as well as the latest news on who is, or soon may be, hiring.
- Learn how to transfer your capabilities and accomplishments to match those of the desired job opportunity. Communicate your background and expertise in terms of generic skills that you can readily transfer to the position, such as project management, business planning, process improvement, and financial analysis. Support your qualifications with results you have achieved – your impact on profits, revenue, efficiency, etc. – using numbers, dollars, or percentages.
- Explore contract-work and freelance arrangements. Former employers who are aware of your skills and qualifications are often a good place to start, and may offer referrals to others needing help, but aren’t ready yet to hire employees. Besides aiding in paying the bills, contract work may also lead to a full-time job with another employer, or to full-time self-employment.
- Target industries and companies that may have seen increased business due to the economic stimulus package. Construction, building, engineering, and‘green technology’ firms may be among the earliest to see increased business as a result of the stimulus package. Concentrate on smaller businesses in these areas, since small businesses are usually the first to hire after a downturn.
- Continue to attend trade shows and professional association meetings. Don’t stop going to trade and professional group meetings because you are unemployed. Many of your colleagues are in the same position as you, and these groups are among the most valuable networking resources.
- Be flexible, nimble, and ready to react at a moment’s notice. Taking 24 hours to respond to an opportunity is an eternity in today’s job market. Be prepared to capitalize quickly after learning of an opportunity, or being contacted about one. Extend your flexibility to such possibilities as accepting a lower position, smaller salary, or having to relocate.
- Remain open to new and different job-search strategies. People are getting interviews by handing out resumes in business areas, using libraries for research and networking, and making the most of class reunions, family and social events. Exchange job-search strategies with others, and adjust your comfort level, if necessary, to give different approaches a try.