Finding Work In A Tough Economy
Today's job market is one of the worst since the great depression, at least at the time of writing this article. I hope by the time this article finds you, things will have improved. But as it stands right now the USA has never been in a worse situation. I'm not just talking about employment, the lack of jobs and how difficult it is to find work, I'm talking about the depth of an economic recession which has completely debilitated the American people. Of course when we look overseas for signs that perhaps other economies are improving which might benefit our own, it's the same gloomy picture.
What does this mean to you as a jobseeker?
It really means that you're going to have to come up with a smart strategy and hope that your competitors for the jobs you are looking at haven't thought of it first. So what's a smart strategy for finding work in a tough economy? The simple answer is 'smart networking'. The fortunate thing about the job search strategy that I've just mentioned is that it's within your grasp, within your capacity to benefit from it, you just need to sit down, plan, then get serious about implementing your goals.
Let's look at it at a basic level. For the purpose of this article lets assume that you are a sales engineer in the computer industry and you wish to continue your career in that direction. Sit down and write a list of all the people you have come into contact with during the course of your work, who are in some sort of professional capacity within your industry. You went on a sales meeting 6 months ago to ABC Computers and you met and talked with Bob the sales guy, and Jill the customer service rep was in on the discussion too. Can't remember their last names? call the company and ask.
Go through and create a list of 50 names. How far you have to go back to collect these names is irrelevant at this stage, just create the list.
So you'll have a list of 50 people with their names, the company at which they worked and a rough idea of their job title or description.
Now create another list of 25 people who you might consider to be in your 'inner circle' of contacts. These are ex colleagues and coworkers, managers, hiring agencies who may have helped you in the past, or just close friends who may have connections within your industry. Now you have 75 people on your list. Let me tell you this much, there is an new job available to you from someone on that list, either directly or indirectly.
Now for the people with whom you have an ongoing relationship, call them or email them. Tell them your predicament and explain to them that you'd owe them a debt of gratitude if they could connect you with a hiring company or some other contact or lead, no matter how slender the opportunity.
Now for the people you don't have an ongoing relationship with, find them on LinkedIn.com
Write a short and personal note to them asking for a connection. Say something like Dear Bob, I came across your profile on LinkedIn and would like to connect with you. We met some years ago at [company], you were the site manager and I was doing some work in your department whilst working with [your old company]. I was laid off there a few weeks ago and I'm looking around for work and trying to find old associates and acquaintances who might know of a job opening.
You get the idea. Make it personal and you'll have their attention. Then follow up with the each week or so and bring them into your predicament by keeping them informed of the situation.
This is extremely powerful networking and it will work for you if you're systematic about your efforts.
I even know of one bright spark who followed this system and offered a 'cash prize' for the first person who could connect them with a job. Think about it. Tell people you'll pay them $400 from your first months salary if they can connect you up with an employer. You'd be amazed what that could do to motivate people.
So keep working on your networking and boost your chances of finding a new job in this tough economy.