5 Tips for Job Hunting When the Economy Sucks

Since the recession started in December 2007, the job market has frankly sucked for a lot of people. In 2011, according the Bureau of Labor Statistics, nearly 14 million people were unemployed – doubling the number of job seekers since 2007 – and for every job opening out there, you’re competing against those folks.

How to Find a Job in This Economy

To be successful in finding that job in a climate of economic woe, you have to be proactive. You have to be patient and you have to keep positive. But, these tips might help you too.

  • Network, network, network. Flip through your old contacts. Find old bosses. Get active on social media and attend networking events in your area. Any of these people and events can lead to a job lead or a possible job interview. Don’t be afraid to tell your contacts that you’re currently looking. People love to be needed, so allow them to help you in your job search.
  • Research what industries are growing. Even in a recession, some industries are booming. Energy is bustling now as is nanotechnology and social media work. Look at little-publicized areas like Border Patrol or cosmetics, which tend to do well in a poor economy. Wind power has doubled in the past three years and that industry is hiring heavy.
  • Freelance and consulting. Just because a company doesn’t have you on a payroll doesn’t mean you can earn a paycheck. Freelance work can help get you through the lean times between full-time jobs, and in some cases, can become a career in itself. Consulting is the same way. If you were in promotions, consider offering a consultation to small businesses in need of consulting.
  • Pick targets where you have the best chance. Choose companies you have the most interest in and pursue them whether they have openings or not. Stay in or close to your field of expertise and prioritize your search.
  • Be sure to watch your “P’s” and “Q’s.” Small touches make big differences. Update and customize your resume and cover letter for each job application. Tailor your skills to reflect the skills needed in the job description. Practice your interview skills with a friend or family member. Send a thank-you note or email after the interview. All these small tweaks can pay off big.

Most importantly, stay positive. In a weak job market and economy, frustrations can run high, so don’t let desperation get the best of you.

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Jessica Miller-Merrell

Jessica Miller-Merrell (@jmillermerrell) is a workplace change agent, author and consultant focused on human resources and talent acquisition living in Austin, TX. Recognized by Forbes as a top 50 social media influencer and is a global speaker. She’s the founder of Workology, a workplace HR resource and host of the Workology Podcast.


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