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You’re Out of Work. What Do You Do Now?

The job hunt requires substantial motivation and self-discipline. Regardless of your professional background, you must believe in yourself and your mission. Your mission, of course, is to find new and meaningful employment where you can be fairly compensated for your skills. Treat your job search as if it were your full time job.

Do not allow yourself to become discouraged. If you believe – you can achieve. To be successful in your quest you must have faith in yourself and in your ability to achieve your goal. You must have confidence that your search will ultimately result in success. Henry Ford once said, “Whether you believe you can do a thing or not, you are right.” The following guidelines should help you in how to attack the job market with vigor.

  1. Write down a statement of your purpose, your goal, as if you have already achieved it. Believe that nothing will keep you from your reaching that objective. Read your written statement each morning on arising and each evening before retiring. Have faith that regardless of what happened yesterday – or last week, you will ultimately be successful.

  2. Set a regimen, a regular schedule that you can adhere to on a daily basis.

  3. Set achievable daily and weekly goals, such as making at least 8 or 10 phone calls per day to potential employers, conducting at least three or four networking meetings each week, etc.

  4. Focus your efforts on networking. Remember that 70% of all job-seekers find a new position as a direct result of utilizing personal contacts. Make a list including previous employers, coworkers and associates, friends and former colleagues, college professors, your clergyperson, etc. These and similar acquaintances will be your best method of generating interviews – and subsequently offers.

  5. Don’t be afraid of the telephone. It is a success tool and should be your primary vehicle to open doors.

  6. Remember that your relationship with an employer is a partnership. It is as important for you to interview the employer as for the employer to interview you. It is not just the employers’ choice to hire you – you have a choice as well. We suggest that questions you ask the employer focus on the following six vital areas: Are the responsibilities in my new job defined and do I know what is expected of me? Can I utilize all of my capabilities and is there room for personal development? Am I given the tools and necessary budget to perform my functions effectively? Has the company a plan for recognizing individual achievement? Will my boss encourage my development and be able to give me constructive growth criticism? And finally, does the company encourage individual initiative and creativity and are my opinions considered important?

  7. Do your research. Learn everything you can about the company and what they are looking for in a candidate. Be prepared to tell them why you are the candidate they should hire.

  8. Tape a practice interview. Have a family member or close friend ask you typical questions and assist you in critiquing your performance. Practice will help you to improve your presentation. Understand that only 7% of what is communicated in any interview or conversation is conveyed through the actual words; 38% is conveyed by how we speak – inflection, volume, tone of voice etc; and an enormous 55% through body language – and how you dress.

  9. It is important to understand that the most qualified candidate doesn’t always get the job. The person who does is usually the person who is liked best. You must demonstrate your skills to perform effectively while building the chemistry requisite to generating an offer.

  10. If you do not land the job, find out why. Ask for suggestions that could help you in the future.

  11. Always be persistent. Do not be dissuaded by temporary failure. To quote President Calvin Coolidge “Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.”

  12. Have your resume professionally prepared. This is a small but worthwhile investment.

  13. Prepare a list of your reference contacts and verify that they will give you a credible reference.

  14. Avail yourself of the many resources provided by your local library or bookstore.

  15. Finally, if you still feel you are in over your head, or beating your head against a brick wall, then seek the advice of a qualified career management counselor that can be your coach and mentor.

- Lawrence D. Alter

Author Lawrence Alter is president of L.D.A. Enterprises, Ltd.; a Minneapolis based outplacement and career management firm. He is a recognized expert in career growth techniques. Call (952) 697-3663 or send ideas and questions to: Website: