Tips for Finding Work Quickly in a Tight Market
You're out of a job. Now what?
If you’re currently out of work, you’re not alone. In fact, according to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate in the Northeast has risen to 5.8%. But there is some good news: the jobless rate in this part of the country is still lower than the national average of 6.1%. In fact, Massachusetts added 1,700 new jobs in August and New York City’s unemployment rate remained relatively steady throughout the summer months. What can you do to ensure that you will once again gain membership into the club of the gainfully employed? Here are some tips for quickly landing a job in a turbulent economy:
Start networking immediately!
Hopefully, you have kept current with all of the professional contacts you’ve made throughout your career. If so, it is time to get in touch to let them know you are in the market for a new job, and speak with them about possible leads and any introductions they could make. If you haven’t been in touch with your network since your last job search, it is time to dust off the list. Contact previous employers, former co-workers, friends, family, clients and vendors. Also consider utilizing social networking sites to reconnect with people you have lost touch with. Networking is still the most effective way to get in front of the people who are hiring so make this activity a priority.
Prepare an answer
As you begin your hunt for a new job, inevitably you will be asked why you left your former company and position. Make sure you have crafted a concise statement that puts a positive spin on your circumstances no matter the reason for your departure. Practice it until you are comfortable with what you are saying and confident in your ability to relay the message you want your listener to hear.
Others may ask why you lost your job, and you need to ask the same question of yourself—and be honest. Is your industry struggling? Is hiring cooling in your city or state? Is your vocation becoming obsolete? Do you need more training? The answers to these questions can help you aim your job search in the right direction.
Take contract work
There is a misconception among job seekers that taking contract work can be looked at as a negative by future employers. In fact, accepting contract assignments can only help you. Taking temporary work demonstrates to prospective hiring managers that you’re making an effort to stay employed and up-to-date on your skills. Many times, contract positions can lead to permanent ones. And it doesn’t hurt to be putting money in your pocket as you continue your job search.
Out of work does not mean “on vacation.” Some people make the mistake of easing into their search, but as the gaps on their resumes get bigger, they panic and take the first job offered to them. Be disciplined about your search and treat it like you would a job. Set aside a structured amount of time each day and designate a quiet place to conduct your job search activities. It also helps to set specific goals (“I’ll make ten calls today” or “I’ll update my profile on Linkedin”).
You need to set yourself apart from the hundreds of other candidates—some of whom may be currently working. Why should an employer hire you? What is your “wow factor?” What makes you special? Make sure you research the company and the job and bring something extra to an interview. It also helps to practice. Have a friend or former colleague critique you so you can tweak your presentation.
Don’t be a pest, but also don’t be afraid to make those follow-up phone calls and emails. Your persistence can pay off because you will be at the forefront of a hiring manager’s mind.
The future of the economy is still unclear, but you don’t have to remain an unemployment statistic. Follow these tips to make sure that the next job added in the Northeast is yours.