More people are flooding the job market. Jobs are scarcer. Competition is stiffer. You may wonder how you can possibly stand out amidst the crowd of applicants. You may also wonder how to find work in a tight economy
It’s harder to land — and keep — a job in a tough economy, when layoffs are commonplace. But when the dollars aren’t flowing, there still are plenty of things you can do to help yourself find that seemingly elusive job.
What are your qualifications?
Since a good employee should contribute to a company’s success, begin by taking stock of your personal qualifications. What kind of training and experience do you have? What are your personal strengths? Figure out ways you can offer your employer something others cannot. Maybe you’re bilingual and you’re experienced in the same retail trade. Maybe you live around the block and you’re available when others phone in sick. Maybe you have expert training that could result in more sales.
Are you detail oriented and organized, making you exceptionally capable of running a business office? Or are you a people person whose compassionate ear would be much sought after in a mortician’s office? Do you struggle to be on time or are you usually early? Maybe you can be depended upon to set up before restaurant customers arrive. Do you work well late at night or very early in the morning? If so, you might be the perfect candidate for the night or early morning shift, setting you apart from the 9 a.m.-to-5 p.m. job crowd.
Go Where the Money Is
Assess the marketplace and plan to go where the money is. For starters, remember the old saying, you can’t avoid death and taxes. The mortuary and tax businesses are safer than selling jewelry or luxury vacations. People likely will come up with the money for glasses, dentures and antibiotics, but fewer will be able to afford cosmetic surgery, designer clothes, and new cars. You can position yourself for success when you seek employment in an industry where the dollars will continue to flow — where layoffs are not the norm.
Seek Out Local Employers
Investigate suitable employers near your home. You’ll save on gas and travel time once you’re hired. Learn all you can about each prospective company. A new company may have more openings, but they may not survive. A safer bet would be an established firm with a good reputation for fair treatment of its employees.
Reach Out to Previous Employers
Be sure to call old employers and let them know you’re in the job market. If you’re willing to work with them again, ask whether there are any openings. If you don’t want to return to your old job, ask for a short letter of reference you can copy and submit to other employers with your resume or job application. Be sure your resume is positive and clearly states a job objective. Also be in touch with family members and friends who can help you get an interview or job.
Contact Prospective Employers
Make initial contact with a prospective employer through your relative, acquaintance, or Personnel/Human Relations Office. Follow their instructions and prepare well for any interviews. Be sure to dress professionally, rehearse answers to common interview questions, and show up on time.
Here are some more tips.
* Avoid the crowds by skipping the Want Ads and employment agencies. There is less competition when a Help Wanted sign is posted at an establishment. There is even less competition for an unadvertised job, or whenever you can convince a potential employer you’ll make him or her more money. A resourceful employee who is interested in the success of the company is to be valued.
* Be flexible. The job of your dreams may not be available. Be willing to start at a lesser job and prove your worth. Later on when the job becomes available, you may be first in line to get it.
* Be patient and persistent. Let them know you really want to work there. Be polite and keep coming back. When a position becomes available, guess who they’ll remember.
* Consider a temporary, part-time or volunteer job. When you are known, you are more likely to be hired for a full-time, permanent position. At the least, you’ll gain experience and have more letters of recommendation.
* Make your own success, if necessary. Find a need and fill it, for a fee. If you’ve got bills to pay, you may not be able to spend all your time job hunting. You may need to find odd jobs. You can parlay cutting the neighbors’ lawns into a full-time gardening business. Those baby-sitting jobs can turn into a child-care business. At the very least, these people can give you valuable references which will help build your credibility with full-time employers.