“How do I conduct a viable job search when the job market around me is dead or dying?”
I relate to your situation, because your situation happened to me. Here’s a bit of back-drop:
Growing up in upstate New York, I learned quickly that the local economy was supported in part by Canadian shoppers. Retail stores, tourist destinations, and restaurants, benefited from the added revenue that Canadians pumped through the NY area. All good things come to an end, I suppose.
The Canadian dollar strengthened (or, the US dollar weakened). Canadian shoppers who once ventured into the States two or three times a year to shop and vacation, eventually slowed. Jobs (i.e. retail, hospitality, restaurant) in upstate New York began drying up, causing many upstate New Yorkers to reevaluate their career paths.
What do you do now that your area job market is in the toilet?
First, conduct some due diligence to determine whether your skills pigeonhole you to one industry, one job title.
In many cases, jobseekers have transferable skills that are applicable to other industries and job roles. A great way of finding a complementary job is by visiting your favorite job board and inputting some of your main skills. Your most prominent job duties/skills won’t always uncover all the most viable job opportunities, so don’t overlook your less dominant skills as well.
A great way of finding a complementary job is by visiting your favorite job board and inputting some of your main skills.
For example, take a chief business executive who handles some common tasks; i.e. financial management, operations planning, staff management, and so on. Input these tasks into any search engine and job board, and you’re likely to call up more executive positions.
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This is great … but only when CEO roles are abundant. When those roles are “few and far between,” however, a job board will return sparse results.
What should be done then?
Another option is to look at all skills. Let’s consider the same CEO who handled some additional tasks not entirely exclusive to executives — let’s say, mergers & acquisitions. Conducting a quick search online for M&A, additional job titles surface:
- Senior Manager of Mergers & Acquisitions
- VP of M&A
- Infrastructure Executive
A CEO that conducts a narrow keyword search would miss some of the above opportunities, if not careful.
Second, look beyond “traditional.”
For example, have you considered telecommute jobs? Or, how about starting a consulting business? A major advantage to workers today is the Internet. This one “vehicle” has opened a whole new world for professionals, giving the opportunity to work virtually without stepping foot into an office.
Telecommute jobs are on the rise, as more employees seek flexibility. A worker in NY can work full-time for a company in CA, for example. Off-site workers are becoming the norm as the employment landscape continues to evolve. However, not everyone is cut out to perform within a telecommute role.
Another advantage to the new working “world” is the ability to start a business and work with clients all over the world. This has never been more evident than with the increase in consulting businesses that have sprung up. Sales executives are advising small business on how to start and build sales operations. Tax planners are consulting clients on tax avoidance and financial restructuring.
Third, focus outside the area — even if it hurts.
When other industries and job roles aren’t an option, and you’ve exhausted the ability to slip into a telecommute or long-distance position, what other choices do you? Wait around for a job to fall out of the sky, and bonk you on the head? Sometimes relocation is one of the only viable options for securing quick, quality employment. True, not everyone is open to relocation, especially when there are kids and a spouse who aren’t on board with a move.
But, you need to work, right?