I Just Need a Job!

My phone rang early Monday morning. It was a woman referred by a former client. She had been laid off from her job of 10 years and had been searching for a few months with no job in sight.

She introduced herself and I could hear the desperation in her voice, as she blurted out that she needed a “general resume.” I don’t do general resumes so probed gently to understand her needs. Her answer mirrored what many laid off workers are feeling – she had been out of work, was running out of money and just wanted a job, any job.

When you have been in the market for a period of time, it is easy to become discouraged and lose focus. Doing so, however, will further sabotage your efforts at finding a job. Successful job seekers are focused in their search. Their search strategy and resume align with a very focused goal.

An unfocused search is a bit like digging around in a bargain bin hoping to find a deal.

Your job search is a marketing effort and you need to have a clear target(s) in order to execute an effective strategy. Here are a few tips to help you stay the course and execute on a clear vision.

  1. Write down your goals. List the types of companies you would want to work for – size, culture, industry. Do you want to work independently or as part of a team? A list will help you seek out companies that match your goals.
  2. Do your research. Research companies, industry, hiring trends. Information will help you to more effectively target and conduct your search.
  3. Do you want to transition to a different industry? In a soft economy, transitioning is a little more difficult.  List your transferable skills. Do you have contacts in your desired industry? Are there specialized skills that you can leverage to make the transition? Have a Plan B that is not your ideal but positions you for your desired move.
  4. Stabilize your finances. Meet with a financial planner to develop a budget. Seek out temporary assignments if needed. Money worries can cloud your judgment and your attitude. Take care of this first so that you can conduct your search without the extra added pressure.
  5. Target your resume to a specific position. If you are conducting a dual search, a professional can help you with a resume or do two versions, one for each career goal.
  6. Be specific with your network. Your network can be a valuable source of information but are much more effective when giving specifics. Rather than asking if they know of anyone who is hiring, ask if they have any contacts at ABC Company. Specific information triggers much better recall in most people.
  7. Surround yourself with a support network. You need people that will keep you on track and encourage you. Join a job club, networking group, or mastermind group.
  8. Get out of the house. The worse thing you can do is sit in front of your computer all day uploading resumes to job boards. Look for professional events where you can network with people from  your targeted list of companies. Set up information interviews with people who can introduce you to hiring managers in your niche. You can still use your computer but use it to make smart connections not blindly send resumes to job boards.
  9. Volunteer. Donate your time and talents to organizations that  you support. You can even use volunteering to acquire new skills or make contacts in a new industry. Taking the focus from yourself and helping others is a sure fire way to beat the blues.
  10. Ask for help if you’re not getting results. I often get calls from job seekers who are not getting interviews. They always assume it is their resume. However, it may be the strategy used to search for jobs. If you’re getting interviews but no offers, your positioning may be hurting you or it could be your interviewing style. A professional can help you to find and correct the problem. If you do not have money to hire a professional, seek out free resources from community centers, local colleges or unemployment centers.

With the right strategy and tools you can get a job!

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