5 Things You Have to Do in a Bad Job Market
Unemployment recently hit a new 5-year high of 6.1% with 605,000 jobs leaving the market. This will only get worse as the turmoil from the financial markets causes more layoffs. Here are 5 critical things you should do TODAY to protect yourself.
1. GET YOUR RESUME DONE… NOW!
The market is more competitive than ever and the days of having an Objective and a list of where you worked on your resume are over. Hire a professional resume writer to quickly gain a competitive advantage over the literally hundreds of other resumes employers receive.
A good professional resume writer will craft your value proposition that distinguishes you from everyone else. They know the keywords, formats, skills and performance metrics for your industry and, having done this for years, they know the kinds of resumes you are competing with. You don’t have time to waste by trying to write your own resume – at best it will be a 5-6 on a 10-scale and that is just not good enough. This important investment will slash weeks from your job search and pay for itself in your first paycheck.
2. CREATE A DATABASE OF CONTACTS.
Make sure you are getting contact information from your colleagues in case your organization is suddenly downsized. Go through your business cards and list everyone who might know someone who might know someone who can help you find an open position. You cannot have too many names here, just make sure you assign a category to them (i.e. peer, boss, acquaintance, etc.).
3. GET ON LINKEDIN.COM.
A lot of recruiters find people there and it is a great way to build your network. You can search for old school mates and people you worked with in other jobs. Use your new resume as the basis for your profile. Build your network and get as many recommendations as you can.
4. LEARN TO NETWORK.
Most people think networking is giving your resume to as many people as you can and asking them to let you know if there is a job opportunity anywhere. THIS IS THE WORST THING YOU CAN DO as you just lost control over the process and now you just wait and hope that the phone will ring.
Good networking is asking people for advice. People are much more likely to give you advice than help you get a job. To start, you must develop your elevator pitch – the 20 second statements you would make if you were in an elevator with Bill Gates and you wanted to tell him why you are the best person for a job.
Here’s a sample elevator pitch:
I have 13 years of experience in the plastic and chemicals field including having served as a Sales Manager with DuPont. I have beat my sales goals and targets every year, even in the face of a severely declining market. I am particularly good at using my strong technical and operational knowledge to earn a customer’s trust and build loyal relationships. As you probably know, the market is pretty soft right now and I am looking at other related industries where my ability to penetrate accounts and get new business would be of value.
If you need some assistance in crafting this, ask your resume writer to help you.
5. HIT THE JOB BOARDS AND RECRUITERS.
Monster and CareerBuilder are not the most effective boards to post your resume. Look for the niche job boards as they are cheaper for employers and specific to your field. Note that you can post your resume confidentially so your employer won’t know that you are looking. You can also indicate where geographically you are willing to work. For a great list of vertical and geographical job boards go to the International Association of Employment Web Sites at http://www.employmentwebsites.org/?q=website/tree.
To surf for jobs, use Indeed.com as it is a job board aggregator, meaning it pulls jobs from all the other job boards as well as company web sites to give you a single place to find openings. Start looking at jobs there. Also look at Craig’s List which is becoming a great place to find local job postings.
Whether you are actively looking for a job or not, YOU SHOULD DO THESE 5 THINGS. After all, what is the worst thing that can happen? Someone will offer you a job?