Past Issues

June 29, 2009

Hang Tough and Land a New Job

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Hang Tough and Land a New Job

Rachel Polish, The Talent Buzz Blog

I'm tough. I've jumped out of a plane, slogged my way through boot camp for Coast Guard reservists, run two marathons and got in a fist fight with a male college wrestler (I won, but it's a long story). To increase my toughness credentials, I frequently slip into conversations that I'm from New Jersey -- no one needs to know that my family moved to the cushy confines of sunny Silicon Valley. It's the Jersey toughness part that people need to know -- right?

A few weeks ago, my boss called me into his office. He was waiting for me, as was our department's HR director. "This can't be good," I said to myself. It was explained to me that the company was downsizing again. Could this really be happening?

It took all of that aforementioned toughness to demonstrate my intent to be as professional as possible. Without missing a beat, I informed my network that I was now on a quest for a new job and willing to try new things to achieve this lofty goal.

Here are eight things I'm doing to hang tough and land a new job:

1. Network - I'm attending industry events, trade organization meetings and cocktail parties to meet people I might not normally encounter. If I don't let people know I am looking for a new gig, how will I find a job?

2. Create business cards - When I first got laid off, I'd attend events and hope that people would remember me the next day when I followed up via email. I realized that having a one, two punch - a business card at the event and an email the next day - is much more powerful.

3. Stay connected to your industry - I try to stay in front of those who could potentially offer me a job as much as possible, while keeping up on the latest trends and industry changes. I've joined the board of my trade organization's local chapter, read industry newsletters and go to PR roundtables. Nearly every industry has a trade organization that's worth investigating.

4. Ask friends to connect you with their friends in your field for informational interviews - while I know how hard it is to ask for help, this is the time to do it. Once you've been introduced, it's easy enough to request a quick call or coffee meeting.

5. Use LinkedIn to your advantage - LinkedIn is a great tool to track job postings, connect with those I've just met at networking events and request recommendations from those who liked my work in the past. Recruiters also use LinkedIn to locate potential candidates, so putting my best foot forward here is critical.

6. Use Twitter as a networking tool - Twitter allows you to post or "tweet"up to 140 characters at a time about your current activities. I've secured a number of informational interviews, connected with recruiters, discovered networking events and been lucky enough to have influential people "tweet"about my quest for employment with their endorsement.

7. Join a hobby group - I'm a runner. Instead of running alone, I've joined a team organized by my local running store. As a result, I've had the opportunity to meet people that are now part of my industry network. It's much easier to approach someone about work when you've completed a grueling 10-mile run together or shared a race-day experience.

8. BE TOUGH! - Stay positive and do not let the layoff blues show. No one wants to hire someone who appears to be negative or disgruntled in this competitive job market. Give someone every reason to hire you.

Rachel Polish is a Talent Management executive and strategist bringing over ten years of global Human Resources leadership to The Talent Buzz. She is currently the Vice President of Talent Acquisition & Diversity for Ameriprise in Minneapolis, MN.

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