Past Issues

October 06, 2008

How To Boost Your Job Search Chances

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How To Boost Your Job Search Chances

By Caroline Potter,

Fuel prices are up. Food prices, too. And don't forget foreclosures. The United States is still at war and unemployment has reached 5.5 percent. It's the real-life equivalent of "Lions and tigers and bears!" But, oh my, does a job seeker really have to think the worst is yet to come - if it isn't already here? Nah!

Don't focus too much on the bad news!

There's plenty of good news - and good jobs - out there. John Challenger, CEO of Challenger, Gray & Christmas, the nation's first, oldest and premier outplacement consulting organization, points out, "There's no reason to start panicking. Jobs are opening up all the time. And while the economy is a bit sluggish as of late, you can't think of the job market as too monolithic. A number of industries out there are doing very well currently. Health care, energy, international business, agriculture and commodities are thriving."

Whatever the economic climate, you can use these four strategies to maximize your opportunities:

  • Rely on research. Outplacement and job-market expert Challenger recommends that job seekers do their due diligence. "What's going on in the economy? What's going on in my market? Where are the companies that are hiring? Research all this online and see who's doing well in the market and position your next job search around companies that are in growth mode right now."

    However, even if an organization's numbers are down, he reminds professionals, "Don't give up on a company that's doing poorly. Troubled companies need good people to solve their problems."

  • Think positive. Janet White, author of "Secrets of the Hidden Job Market: Change Your Thinking to Get the Job of Your Dreams", says she thinks workers should stop reading the headlines. "Don't buy it," she says. If you begin your job search with the wrong mind-set, it may not go right.

    "Avoid falling into the mind-set that it's tough out there, there's a lot of competition, and not enough opportunity for you," White says.

  • Don't blame the economy alone. Are you flying blind or do you have a solid job-search strategy? Susan D. Strayer, author of "The Right Job Right Now: The Complete Toolkit for Finding Your Perfect Career," says, "One of the things I always see when there is an economic downturn is that job seekers tend to be lazy in their searches and blame it on the economy. That's not a good strategy."

  • Market yourself. Although we are seeing unemployment rise and the economy somewhat weaken, there will always be jobs available for those who are determined to find the right fit. But it's important to remember that looking for a job is all about marketing yourself.

    The best strategy for positioning yourself as the most attractive candidate starts with a tight resume. Also, there are jobs lurking around every corner, but you won't find them unless you network.

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