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Toughing out Today’s Tough Employment Market
If you feel frustrated in your job search, you aren’t alone. Now, more than ever, we feel uncertainty over our personal freedoms, the world economy and personal job stability. If you don’t focus on your ultimate career goal, however, weeks can drag into months and as time goes by, you won’t have the confidence to choose where you want your career to go. If you keep these simple, yet essential ideas in mind, you can conduct a successful search or transition to a new career.
- Decide what you want in your career and follow through. Whether you are working for pure enjoyment, a wide range of benefits or the potential to move up the ladder quickly, you need to target your search accordingly. If you’re looking for a particular position and don’t find it right away, don’t give up. You can try temping, free-lancing or even volunteering – just think of the contacts you could make and potentially utilize at a later date. Don’t let a week or two of not hearing from anyone discourage you, and don’t accept a position you know you’ll hate, even if the paycheck is tempting. You don’t want to end up later on with a resume that contains numerous job changes within a short period of time.
- Do your research, either by industry or company. If you’re looking to research a particular company, try www.hoovers.com. Try to arrange an informational interview with an employer in the industry you’re targeting or even with your top choice company just to see if you’d like it. Stay informed about industry-specific companies, local business successes (and failures) so that you’ll be a true business-savvy potential candidate! Doing research keeps your mind active during your search and also lends itself to innovative ideas and the motivation to keep pursuing your success. Local business journals are great sources of information about up and coming companies as well as established companies experiencing growth and change.
- Take courses at your local college – many offer free or low-cost workshops and seminars that can expand your interests and insight. If you know that your field requires a certain credential or certification, work toward that during your unemployment – or at night if you hold a day job. Demonstrating an interest in continuing your education will be a bonus on your resume. You also have the opportunity to make valuable networking contacts or meet someone from your target company.
- Remember your successes. At least weekly, review your accomplishments, particularly if you have a long work history. Shelve any awards, commendations even funny notes from co-workers where you can see them. Anything that makes you feel good about your past professional life will add to your confidence about the future.
- Be resume ready. You should have a professional, well-written resume ready at all times – you never know when an opportunity will arise, and sometimes, you’ll be in a time crunch. Make sure the format, content and language of your resume is up-to-date, compelling and error-free. Maintain an easy, concise style with a focus on keep achievements and transferable skills. Have people in levels of authority read it and don’t take feedback as criticism, but professional advice. You may also wish to have a professional resume writer evaluate your document for its effectiveness.
- Prepare your financial plan. If your goal is to shift career gears, you may experience a cut in pay. That’s ok, because your foot will be in the door and if you count on a reduction beforehand, it wont’ hurt so much when a low offer comes in. Plan for up to 3-4 months of pounding the pavement if you’re unemployed; a bit longer if you’re employed as you can’t devote as much time to an aggressive search. Review your priorities – if you really feel you’d really benefit from completing that last class to achieve your B.A., forego other personal expenses. Live your life in accordance to your career goals….your career takes more hours out of you than your family – make sure that it’s one you enjoy.
- Above all, retain a sense of humor. Everyone has a funny work-related story – coffee that spilled on meeting documents, a boss who wore mismatched socks, or the time you mistakenly addressed a visiting V.I.P as “hey, you.” Don’t limit the fun in your life just because you don’t have the job of your dreams. You have the choice to remain positive about your career future – there are numerous avenues you can travel in the search for your “dream” job…keep at it, remain confident and remind yourself that nearly everyone you meet has been there before (even your potential new boss)!
- Kim Little
Kim Little, JCTC, and President of Fast Track Resumes, is among a small percentage of professional resume writers across the country who has earned the International Job and Career Transition Coach Certification. This ensures that not only will her clients receive an outstanding resume, but also the support and career coaching necessary for clients to achieve both professional success and personal satisfaction.