It’s discouraging these days. American workers are facing some pretty huge obstacles and it’s understandable why some people give up on their job search. On the other hand, maybe we need to toughen up a little bit as a country. The men who waded ashore at Normandy on 6 June 1944 faced stiffer odds than any of us today could even imagine (go watch the opening 22 minutes of Saving Private Ryan if you want to get an idea of what that was like).
Hopefully, that puts some things in perspective for you. And now that you have perspective, let’s talk about restarting that job search – in style.
Step One: Network!
You’ve heard it before: “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.” These days, you cannot possibly network enough. Some of the Internet job search sites such as Monster.com, CareerBuilder and others offer such networking services for their members, but it’s pretty limited – and social networking sites such as Facebook and Myspace are geared more toward small talk.
LinkedIn is a professional networking site that is business-oriented. It’s by invitation only, which actually provides a great deal more credibility – but chances are you know someone who is on there. It may take a bit of doing, but it’s possible to obtain an invitation. Once there, you’ll find tools that will enable you to make even more contacts as well as post your resume and professional profile (which will come up near the top of results on a certain prominent search engine when someone searches for you by name).
At the very least, you need to be getting in touch with former coworkers, former employers, and even your old college professors who haven’t yet retired.
What A Pro Has To Say
According to Tony Lee, who runs the Wall Street Journal’s career website, if what you’re doing isn’t working, maybe it’s time for a new strategy. This may involve having to reconsider some of your career objectives, which may require some serious “out-of-the-box” thinking.
Take a hard look at your skill set, talents, interests and experience, then think of as many different ways as possible how those skills might be useful and transfer to other fields.
For example, if you are good at analysis – if you are a former software programmer, you are obviously detail-oriented and may do well as a paralegal, assisting lawyers in research and dissection of fine points of the law (in our litigious society, this is a growth industry). If in addition you have a thick skin and don’t mind people hating your guts and are willing to put up with that in exchange for a decent paycheck on a regular basis, consider becoming an insurance adjuster (yes, they’re hiring).
If you need help in figuring out how your interests and skills might transfer to other fields, we recommend checking out Multiple Intelligences: New Horizons in Theory and Practice by Howard Gardner (Basic Books, 2006). You will be surprised at how many things you might be good at.
Above all, get with a support group – don’t fight this battle alone and don’t isolate yourself. Down that path lies madness (or at least addiction), and you need all the friends you can get. Keep in mind that when push came to shove, the boys who stormed the beaches at Normandy were not fighting for their flag, for their country or a political ideology.
They were fighting for the guy next to them.
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