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Career tip: Job searching is not fun or easy April 27, 2009

Posted by fetzthechemist in Careers.

With the current economic crisis being both widespread and deep, a lot of people have been forced back into the job-seeking mode. The circumstances now, however, are much more different than the first-job or subsequent job-hopping times many younger job seekers are used to. Those were in economic good times with lots of available openings and more limited talent pools to fill them.


I have seen news articles about the millennium generation approaching the job search differently. This is all well and good if social networking and other Internet-based approaches still have the aim of finding job openings or good contacts within target companies. But, in one story I saw that a group had organized a get-together at a club – during the day. The “participants” wandered through the different rooms, stopped and sat chatted about their job searches. This amounted to the group of them having a party. The talking about their job searching, and meandering was good, but the group called it a new kind of job fair. There were no interactions with those seeking employees, with potential companies. A touchy-feely party to make everyone feel good about trying.


The aim of the search is not to have fun or to feel good. It is to find a job! Feeling down, frustrated, disempowered are all part of it. People like structure and a certainy about their future. Being between jobs lacks these, so you feel bad. Use your friends and network to get you through those, too, but you cannot avoid them. Ignoring them means not focusing on the solution of getting a new job.


There are many parts of job hunting that are inherently difficult. If you have not been actively maintaining your network, you feel awkward calling people you know to ask for help and contacts – that is why maintaining an active network works better, you are not just contacting people when you need help.


Cold calling is even more awkward. You much be prepared beforehand rather than just winging it. Ad libbing generally gives an impression of a lack of organization and a lack of confidence. Neither is a good selling point. Have a brief introduction ready. Be polite and explain why you are calling. Mention a mutual reference, if that person has agreed to your using her or his name. Offer to send your resume or CV. Remember that everyone hates cold-calling, so get over the displeasure.


When jobs are scarce, flexibility has to be greater. You cannot just aim for your perfect job. You do not have the security or time to spend looking only for it. Step back and reassess your goals and what you’d like in a job. A new position might be interim or it might be the first step in the new company to things you really want. Once you have broadened your view, prepare more resumes – ones each tailored to a job area. Have several in hand, plus a generic one that you can quickly edit and modify,  Opportunities sometimes pop up quickly, but then can close pretty quickly, too.


Spent several hours every day looking for your job. That is your interim job. Edit resumes, talk to friends, be active in social and business networking, and keep active.



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