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How to find a job in a recession

A10 point plan for landing your next job.

Here are a few tips to help you find a job in a recession. There are still open jobs out there. These points may seem basic, but it doesn't hurt to review them:

1) Network, network, network. It is still true that it's who you know. Take advantage of online networking sites such as Facebook or LinkedIn. Attend professional society dinners and hand out your resume or business cards. If you don't have a personal business card, get one. Ask business co-workers or former professional contacts out to lunch or to coffee. Now is the time to catch up with people you haven't seen in a while. Make it your goal to have coffee or lunch with someone every week.

2) Make sure any resume you send to a recruiter or an employer is specific to the job opening you are replying to. Too many people have general resumes and think they will fill in the specifics in the interview. But you will never get the interview if you are not specific in the resume. If the job posting says you need B2B marketing experience, make sure the resume says that. If you are in sales, make sure you include that you've held quota bearing jobs and what your quotas were. If you were a manager, state specifically how many people you have managed or supervised.

3) If you e-mail your resume, which is what I recommend as faxing and paper resumes are too old fashioned, make sure your name is in the subject line. Do you know how many people send e-mails with the subject line saying "My resume". If the recruiter loses track of your resume, they'll never find it again with that in the subject, especially if they are getting a few hundred resumes a day. I also would not blast your resume to several people at one time. That is often not received well by employers.

4) Pay attention to the details. If a recruiter asks for writing samples or a cover letter in a job posting, make sure you send them. Recruiters are watching which candidates pay attention to the details. You often will not get a second chance if you don't follow the job posting instructions.

5) Be strategic as to when you send your resume to a firm. Lots of candidates send resumes in late on a Sunday night, but hiring managers are often in staff meetings on Monday mornings and won't have time to read those resumes that were sent in over the weekends. They often will go to the bottom of the inbox and never will be read. Hiring managers typically are more free on Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday just before lunch or in the afternoons so send your resume in then.

6) Practice your interviewing skills. There are lots of books on the market to help with this. Make sure you have specifics to provide to interview questions, and yes, practice in front of a mirror so you can see how you appear to a hiring manager. Pay attention to how professional you look. Would you hire yourself?

7) Make sure you get at least three references lined up, and that at least one of these references is a direct supervisor. Also, make sure they are willing to give both verbal and written references depending on what an employer is requesting.

8) Look to see if your skills are up to date. Take an online course, if necessary, if you need to beef up your skills on a particular software program, etc. If you need to switch careers completely, consider taking a short course at a community college or going to a technical school for a certification. Often this is easier and less expensive than going back to college to get a new degree. Look especially at healthcare certifications to get back to work quickly.

9) Take care of yourself. Don't get depressed. Many people lose their jobs in a slow economy. Exercise, read motivational sayings, and keep your health care insurance, if you can afford it. People of all ages get sick so pay for your COBRA extension, and go without something else, if necessary. I would advise against getting tattoos at this point in time as employers still do not like them. Cut your hair, or color it, and trim your beard, if you have one. Lose weight, if you want to, in order to feel more confident. We promote healthy weight loss found here, but you can try other programs too. If you look and feel good, you'll stay motivated and energized for your job search, plus you'll sound more confident in your interviews.

10) Never give up. Finding a new position can take several months. Too many people drop out of their job search. The recruiting cycle is typically from late August to Mid-June before the summer starts. So now is the best time to look, and if you're not working, make searching for a new opportunity, your full-time job.

Good luck.  

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