In case you haven’t heard (or experienced first hand) we’re in a tough economic period and that has people looking for jobs, or rethinking the one they have. We’ve been getting a lot of emails recently asking for very specific help on finding jobs. Unfortunately, we can’t answer each and every individual email, but we can offer some general advice and guidance. We are also hoping that our readers will join the conversation and offer their advice. Who knows? Maybe you’ll meet someone, who knows someone, who knows someone with a job…
Top 5 Tips for Job Hunting in Tough Times
1. The best way to get a job is to have (or have had) a job
Employers want someone with experience. We are looking for someone who can take what they’ve learned somewhere else and apply it (maybe even build upon it) in our position. So be sure to take opportunities to develop your professional experience. While it may not be the best job in the world, or your ultimate dream job ever, any work experience you have will help you build skills, a resume and a professional network. So be sure to carefully consider any and all offers of employment (including temp, contract, volunteer, intern, entry level, etc.)
2. Seek and ye shall find (but it also helps to know the best places to look)
Even if you’re currently in a job, don’t forget to keep an eye on the market to see what’s out there. And if you’re currently without a job, you’ll definitely want to be on the lookout. Check all the standard places (employer websites, library-related websites such as LISJobs.com, LIBJobs.com, etc…) but also be sure to check with local government agencies, regional consortiums, large local employers and online nationwide job-hunting sites like Monster.com.
3. Keep your tools sharp and ready to go
Always, always, always have a resume. Even if (maybe especially if) you’ve been in your current job for a decade, have a current resume and make sure it’s perfect. We’ve written several articles on resumes, so refer back to those for the how-to’s and must-have’s of resume writing. Also be sure you’re comfortable writing a cover letter and asking for employment references.
4. Practice, Practice, Practice
If it’s been a while since you’ve interviewed, you’ll need to practice to make perfect. Practice with friends, family and colleagues and ask for direct feedback. Practice telephone interviews, practice giving a presentation, even practice shaking hands and introducing yourself. The more practiced you are, the more comfortable you’ll be. The last place you want to “refine” your interviewing skills is actually on the interview!
5. Use your (social) network
We all know it’s a good idea to use your professional network when exploring or seeking new opportunities. But I would encourage you to think broadly about that network. It extends beyond those for whom, with whom, or over whom you’ve worked. If you’re in the market for a new opportunity, be sure to utilize all of your resources: professional colleagues, neighbors, the other dads in the daddy playgroup, or the moms at Little League. And don’t forget social networking. The Linked In site is built around the principals of networking and recommendations. And, if used appropriately, Facebook is an option. Look for professional-affiliated groups to join on Facebook or other profiles that post job information. Just be sure to use caution when posting personal and private information together. It’s a very careful balance, but it can be done successfully.
Readers, what do you think? For those who’ve been there (or are currently there) do you have other tips to share? We look forward to hearing from you…