Monday, September 9, 2013

Has Your Job Search Gone Nowhere? 6 Steps to Re-Focus and Get Back on Track

Has your job search gone nowhere?
     Submitting lots of applications, sent lots of resumes, but no interviews?
         Feeling discouraged and beaten up by a non-productive search?
               Confused and bewildered about what to do now? 
                     Have months gone by? 

If you are one of thousands of people who set a goal, way back in January, that this was the year that you were going to get a new job, you have a lot of company.  If you were laid off months ago and find yourself floundering in a job search that yielded few or no real opportunities for employment, you are not alone. Thousands, if not millions, of job seekers have experienced the exact same things as you over the past few years since the financial debacle of 2008.  

The past few years have presented job seekers with the worst employment market we have seen since the Great Depression.  It has been a difficult time for job seekers  -  it's truly been a buyers' market. 

For job seekers, setting out with a goal of finding a job, and not meeting it, especially if they have been achievers in the past, is tough.  As time goes by, they found themselves discouraged, deflated, and even defeated.  Some, whether they openly acknowledge it or not, just gave up.  

Yet, a lot of people did find jobs --  including clients I have worked with over the course of the past few years who had also been searching for quite some time.  Some are landing new positions right now.  If you would like to join them, here are some things to recognize, think about, and do to achieve your goal:

A good time to step-up your job search  
Fall is a good time to re-invigorate your search.  Since fall is the season in which companies and organizations get serious and step up their hiring, it is a good time for you to step-up your job seeking.  Whether you have been on the market for a while, or just thinking about a new job for a long time, take advantage of this window of opportunity.

Here’s how to get back into the job search game in a way that helps you move forward.
1.   Re-set - your targeted goal for the type of job you want.  What have you learned during your search and how does this alter the type of job you are really looking for?

2.  Re-group - Review your marketing materials - Resume is at the top of the list.  Make sure it is updated, revised, and includes any new skills you’ve developed, and any work you’ve done during this time - volunteer, contract, temporary.  Add both to the Professional Experience section of your resume, with current dates. 

3.  Redevelop - your “L”vator speech in concert with your goal.

4.  Review - your networking contacts list. Spend your time where it counts.  Set 2 networking meetings a day, and reach out to 6 contacts a day (in order to set those 2 meetings).

     Networking is the key!  Over 80% - and I personally believe it’s over 90% - of jobs come through the hidden market. Clients I have worked with turned their job search around by networking and are employed today.  1000's of on-line applications do not - can not - make up for networking.
If you are uncomfortable with networking, and avoid it, learn how to network, and do the following:  force yourself to call up contacts and request meetings, ask for and contact referrals, attend mixer-type events and stand there and talk to people - business cards in hand, attend job fairs, take names of recruiters and company personnel and get back in touch, attend job fairs and get the names of fellow job seekers and form groups to meet and talk, join skills and technology upgrade groups of your fellow job seekers and attend, join networking groups, come prepared with your week's progress report, and attend, apply for positions and then find contacts to who can provide "intelligence" on the company, submit a more relevant resume from the intelligence you've obtained, and find a contact (from your external network and using social media) who can "put in a good word" for you.  

5.  Remove - any negativity from your “L” speech, resume, marketing materials, and networking.

6.  Renew - your energy, by whatever method rejuvenates you:  exercise, a morning appointment with yourself at your local coffee shop for a coffee that gets you out of the house and connected to people, volunteering, taking a class, teaching a class, etc.

With a re-focused approach, set off on your search with renewed energy and clarity.  Step up your networking.  View your job-search-workday as not complete without daily networking.  Work at it likes it's your real job.  That, and a little luck, will help you achieve your goal of finding your new position.
For additional information on marketing yourself and your capabilities, please refer to the many articles found under the Articles tabs of the AJC–Career Strategy website.
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