In the volatile world of economic ups and downs, where unemployment in the United States hit almost 11% in recent months, job search tips haven’t been hard to come by. I think I’ve seen every “tip” under the sun over the past year or so, from “Shifting from a Stay at Home Mom to a Work from Home Mom” to “Beat the Recession: Go Back to School” – not to mention all the money saving “bail out” deals from local restaurants and retail stores. Through all the riffraff there is some useful and applicable advice, however. Here is what I think are the top five tips for finding a job and surviving and thriving in unpredictable economic times:
1. “Finding a job is a full-time job.” This is probably the best advice I have heard. So many people complain and find themselves in financial binds because they can’t find work, but how hard are they really trying? If you are willing to put in 40 hours a week in an office, put at least half that amount of time into finding that office to work in!
2. Be tenacious! The word tenacious is defined as being persistent in maintaining, adhering to, or seeking something valued or desired. Let’s break this down. In this situation, what is the value or desired item? Money (typically). How does one make money (typically)? By having a job and/or career. So, be persistent in seeking your job and/or career! While you don’t want to be described as pushy or desperate, any employer should feel that in your mind, THAT job is the most important one (regardless of how many for which you are currently applying). If you email a resume and receive no response within 24 hours, call for a polite follow-up; after a day or two has passed, hand deliver a resume and cover letter; if you are lucky enough to receive an interview, send a “thank you” note/email or call to say “thank you”. Be tenacious! Be persistent! Be polite! Stand out!
3. Be personal, not computerized. Everything in our lives has shifted to technology. We are (for all intents and purposes) an internet-based, tech savvy, “I have no idea what I’d do without my Smartphone” society and while that is wonderful for the most part, no electronic interaction will ever be as meaningful as face-to-face human interaction. Make the effort to hand deliver a resume – you never know when you might bump into someone important that has 5 extra minutes to spare. Customize your cover letter and resume to the targeted employer – don’t use a “one size fits all” mentality. In an interview, be prepared, but not overly rehearsed – you shouldn’t sound like you’re reading cue cards from across the room.
4. Do SOMETHING! People always say “Well, something is better than nothing,” and it’s absolutely true! While you look for the perfect opportunity, take this time to volunteer at a local organization. This gives you something productive to do while you continue to look for a job, not the mention the people you would be helping and the networking you can do. And there’s a chance that the volunteer position could turn into a paid position over time. Another aspect of “doing something” is taking a job when you get it. Most high-end executives would never consider ‘flipping burgers’ or filing papers, but if you’ve been laid off and need to support yourself and/or a family, nothing is too menial.
5. STAY POSITIVE!!! This is probably the most important and most difficult of all. In life, we can choose to wallow in our own self pity or we can choose to pull ourselves together and get on with our lives. If you’ve got to find a job, I highly suggest the latter of the two. In my opinion, nothing is more important than keeping a good attitude about your situation. In fact, being positive is the single most important skill you possess! Negativity fosters apathy – both of which do nothing but hold a person back.