I was laid off during a job seekers market. I wasn’t supposed to have a long job search, but I did. Being in a job seeker’s market meant nothing to me at the time, except perhaps that I was a loser because I couldn’t land quickly. Only a loser has a long job search in a job seeker’s market, right?
Things have changed, and the market is flooded with professionals in a job search. If you are in a job search right now, you have seen your “competition,” other job seekers, flood this space in the lsat few months. If you are a finance professional, I’m guessing you are looking at a change in profession or industry. All those finance classes for nothing!
Can jobs be found during a recession? Sure! Of course! I don’t know how to find a job in a recession – I couldn’t even find a job in a boom-economy! But I’m guessing there are some components to having a successful job search in this economy.
- Get introduced. Sounds better than writing “network!” Wouldn’t it be better if an insider could bring you in, and introduce you to a hiring manager? There’s only one way to get to that insider, and that’s through networking. That insider may be 3 degrees away from you… so you better start growing your network, and asking “who do you know that…” Go ahead and use a job search tracking spreadsheet. I’ll use something more long-term. Read Thom Singer’s How to Recession Proof Your Company for some similar thoughts.
- Be creative. Get a copy of Guerrilla Marketing for Job Hunters and read it. Perhaps some of the ideas in there don’t work for you, but figure out what will work for you – even if it’s not in the book. I try and think of creative things EVERY DAY to move my company forward, to get JibberJobber in front of more people. You need to think of (and do) creative things EVERY DAY to stick out, and be more memorable than your competition.
- Volunteer. A lot. Volunteer at more than one place. Take on real duties… get on committees, and make a name for yourself. You’ll feel better about contributing to the world, you’ll keep your skills sharp (and maybe learn additional skills), you’ll meet knew people and develop new relationships, and you’ll showcase your capabilities. Oh yeah, and you’ll help people who need it.
- Be patient. If I was supposed to be in a six month job search during a boom economy, how long is your job search supposed to be? You can get anxious and stressed about it, or you can strategize how you’ll spend the time. Yes, it’s stressful, perhaps the most stressful thing you’ll ever do (long term unemployment). But stressing isn’t going to solve anything. Figure out how you are going to mentally deal with this temporary phase.
- Help others in their job search. Again, helping others will help you feel some self-worth. Once you’ve done this stuff for a month or two you are a seasoned veteran, and you can help those deer-in-the-headlights job seekers more than you think. Take them under your wing, take them out to lunch, take them to network meetings, and share ideas with them that you had to learn the hard way. Some won’t be ready to hear it, but some will look at you as a guru. And when they get up-to-speed on their networking, you’ll have someone who is networking for you, which is very powerful.
- Be thankful. Go buy thank you cards and stamps, and send out hand-written thank you cards. This is a lost art, and those who do it become memorable. It sounds so easy, even cliche, but if you send out hand-written thank you cards you will stand out.
- Consider changing your profession or industry. Just because you have years (and years and years) of school behind you doesn’t mean you have to stay in the career path you started with. There’s a huge world of opportunity out there, but it might be on a path you never considered. Think about a change.
- Take a step job. A step job is the job you take while you are still working towards your next career job. It might pay less, or have a smaller title, or even be embarrassing (delivering pizza to your neighbors?), but it puts food on the table and gets you out of the house.
If you are looking for a short job search, and you just want to get it over with, go find a fast food joint and change your lifestyle. I don’t recommend that, but you’ll start getting a paycheck in a few weeks. If you are like me, and that’s not the career path I’m looking for, then get serious about being CEO of Me, Inc.
What ideas do YOU have to find a job in a recession?