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Recession-Proof Your Job Search

Recession-Proof Your Job Search

By Kevin Brennfleck and Kay Marie Brennfleck
National Certified Career Counselors and Life Calling CoachesSM


Question: What makes job searching in a weak job market different?

Answer: It takes "more"--- more time, more effort and more sophisticated strategies. In a slow economy, finding a job requires using job search "best practices," yet many job seekers resist learning or utilizing effective techniques. Don't be one of them! Get the winning edge in a competitive market by implementing these eight tips for a successful job search.

Eight Tips for Successful Job Hunting in a Recession

1. Decide on one or two job targets. A job target is a specific such as "administrative assistant" or "project manager." You cannot conduct a good job search without knowing what type of position you want to obtain. See our article, "Now What? How to Determine Your Next Job Targetfor help with this critical aspect of a good job search.

2. Develop a separate resume for each job target. A general resume (i.e., one that has no focus, but lists all your experience in hopes the employer will see something of interest) has never been very effective, but in a competitive market, it is almost worthless. Employers spend 30 seconds or less looking at a resume. You have to do the work for them by highlighting what you have to offer for the specific position for which you are applying. (Also, if your resume is going to be scanned, you will want to make sure you are "front-loading" key words relevant to that type of position in the first part of the resume.) See our article, "Avoid These Five Resume Mistakes," for more tips on your resume.

3. Create a job search plan for the hidden job market. Once you have identified your job target(s), create a list of employers in your preferred geographic area who hire for that target, research those employers, and develop strategies for identifying and pursuing positions within those companies. 

4. Expand your contact network. If you were an employer, who would you rather hire: a stranger or a job seeker referred to you by someone you respected? All things being equal, most employers will choose the person who comes to them via someone they know. Your contact network, therefore, is a key part of your job search. Your network isn't confined to the people you already know; it can also include the people you are willing to get to know in person or online

5. Limit the amount of time you utilize job boards. Statistically, job seekers have very little success finding jobs through the major online job boards. As part of the advertised job market, job boards represent a small percentage (10-20%) of available jobs and often list hard-to-fill jobs or ones with high turnover. Also, because the majority of job seekers use this passive method, your resume can be one of hundreds that an employer receives for one position.

The odds for this job search method paying off are against you. If you really want to find a job, spend no more than 25% of your job search time using online job boards. Spend the majority of this time on employer's websites and niche websites targeted at your industry or job objective. Spend no more than 5-10% of your time on the major job boards such as because those are the resources most job seekers are using. With the majority of your job search time, use more pro-active strategies for getting into the hidden job market where you could be the only applicant for a job.

6. Create and spend time with your support network. Looking for a job is one of the most difficult things a person ever has to do. You will be able to face the challenges of the job hunt more successfully when you have an active support team. Find a few friends or family members with whom you can talk, pray and have some fun. Schedule a little time each day for recreation and relaxation, and at least one time a week to get together with one or more of your support team for a meal, cup of coffee, an outdoor activity, or something else that will help "recharge" your batteries.

7. Overcome fear with faith. A job search requires you to continue walking into the unknown. Anxiety, depression and fear are common companions on this journey. You'll need to face these foes head-on so they don't hinder you in your efforts to find a new job.

Fear cannot co-exist with real faith. Develop your faith, and your relationship with God, by meditating on faith-building Scripture. Here are some biblical truths to get you started: ""I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me" (Philippians 4:13) and "For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline" (2 Timothy 1:7). Find your own list of faith-building, fear-dissolving verses!

8. Seek professional assistance with your job search. For many people, professional career coaching has given them the winning edge in finding work. If you think you could benefit from help in sharpening your job search skills and developing a job search plan that utilizes the best job search resources and strategies, check out our Job Search Coaching Services for Today's Economy.


© Article copyright by Kevin and Kay Marie Brennfleck, All rights reserved. The above information is intended for personal use only. No commercial use of this information is authorized without written permission.