There’s been more bad news about the economy lately, like the Department of Labor’s recent reports. Initial filings of unemployment claims are at a 16-year high, at 542,000.
It’s clear that getting a job is more challenging in this atmosphere. But jobs ARE still out there.
Here are some suggestions that might help get job seekers out of a job search rut.
Find a career coach. Few of us can afford to hire an accredited career coach. But if you don’t have the resources to hire your own career coach, there are several ways to tap into an informal “coaching” network.
- Use your professional networking tools like BrightFuse and LinkedIn. On BrightFuse, you can ask companies questions and you can join groups where other people in your field can give you practical advice.
- Many city and state governments have resources dedicated to helping people get jobs. You can work with these agencies or volunteers, who may have network connections that would help you find the right job opportunity.
- There are professional groups for many industries out there, whether your industry is white-collar, blue-collar or service oriented.
No matter what, you should try to find at least three objective voices who are smart and savvy and in your chosen field (not friends and family). Have them look at your resume and experience and ask them for recommendations.
Be open to constructive criticism and be ready to make changes to your resume – and possibly your career path – based on their recommendations.
Identify short-term needs and long-term goals. I don’t know of anyone who doesn’t want to get the best fit possible for them when they’re job searching.
But when positions are limited and the economy is uncertain, waiting for that absolutely perfect gig may be unrealistic (and unhealthy for your bank balance).
You may need to take an interim job – a job you may be in for a year or two until other positions in your field open up.
You can still be sensible about finding that interim job and make it fit into your long-term career strategy. Here are some ideas to keep in mind.
- Though many people focus on a specific field or industry when they define their career goals, think of transferable skills. If your work is organized and focused and you can multitask with ease, these individual skills can be assets for you in any number of fields.
- Even if a potential new job is far outside of your core area of study or experience, you can try to find opportunities that still enhance your overall career path. For example, if you’re seeking a position in media and journalism, but end up taking a sales position as an interim job, you may want to consider working in newspaper or magazine ad sales. This would give you an idea of the other side of the business, and would be great knowledge to have if you became a manager or senior editor of a print publications.
- Be sure to pick an interim job that has benefits you can take advantage of. Many companies have tuition reimbursement. Company may also help workers take advantage of free or low-fee classes to enhance basic skills like Word, Excel and PowerPoint, as well as any classes or certifications a worker in your field might need. It’s especially important to take advantage of training and education opportunties if your original career path is changing and the job opportunities are shrinking there.
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