Jumpstarting Your Job Search

Seven practical tips revealed for getting out of your rut.

February 7, 2008
by Debra Feldman

Extended periods of unemployment can be psychologically and emotionally draining, especially when weeks of searching turn into months. Compounding your frustration, it often seems like every person you know has an opinion and/or advice for getting back on track. Much of that information can be helpful (albeit overwhelming), but the key is synthesizing it into a strong, solid job search campaign strategy by steering yourself out of a rut and on to your next career opportunity. Sometimes it just takes a little refocusing of priorities and a change in your job search routine to get things started.

Tips to Jumpstart Your Stalled Job Search Campaign

  1. Switch from a candidate-centered strategy to one that reflects employers' concerns first. Concentrate on identifying prospective employers’ needs, then matching your skills and talents to these specifications.  
  2. Get a toe in the door. When it comes to your résumé, specify your objective, so it presents you as a very desirable expert to fulfill a specific need. Rely on your greatest strengths to attract genuine attention. Once your foot is in the door, you can always expand on the diverse talents you bring to an organization.  
  3. Generate relationships. If you are spending inordinate hours on the computer searching, reading, perusing online job boards ... stop! Choose one or two of the most reputable job sites and post your best submission there. Then force yourself to start interacting with as many individuals as you can to share your goal of connecting with the specific employers that you want to work for.
  4. Choose the right contacts. Company Web sites are treasure troves of information; press releases contain many insights into news and developments; trade publications drop names; and key word queries on search engines can uncover leads. Be resourceful and purposeful in your research.
  5. Be proactive. Once you connect with a new business contact, make it your goal to have them refer you to at least two other contacts you should meet. Meeting this goal will increase your network quickly, producing the high level of human interaction you'll need to jumpstart your job search.
  6. Seek out hidden opportunities. Don’t wait for a company to issue a requisition to hire someone like you. Purposefully seek out opportunities that are not advertised. How do you get a company to create a job for you? It's not as hard as you might think. First, select a handful of companies that you want to work for. Next, formulate compelling arguments for why those companies need you. Revise the list and weed out any companies that are unlikely to recognize your value. Prepare presentations based on your research illustrating how you can help address each company's challenges.
  7. Be flexible and practical. Just because a position isn't your dream job, doesn’t mean it can’t be a stepping stone to a great new position, with a chance to learn and grow. Think about it: Are you better off eating into savings or taking something in the interim to avoid depleting your nest egg? Getting financial relief is important; it can permit you to think rationally about your options without the additional stress of financial worries. Plus you can use the income to invest in proven career management services or improve your skills and marketability.

Finding a new job is a stressful learning opportunity. At times, it may seem like it is never going to end. But at the conclusion of this unpleasantness, not only will you have landed a new job, you will have mastered networking purposefully. One simple and encouraging thought is knowing that once you have mastered seeking out a new job and developed networking contacts to facilitate your transition, if you ever find yourself in a similar predicament in the future, that next period of unemployment will not be of the same intensity and duration.

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Debra Feldman is the JobWhiz™, a nationally-recognized expert who designs and personally implements swift, strategic, and customized senior level executive job search campaigns, banishing barriers that prevent immediate success. Her gift for cold calling, executed with high energy and savvy panache, connects candidates directly to decision makers, not HR. Network Purposefully™ with the JobWhiz, and compress your job searches into mere weeks. In addition to writing columns and conducting workshops for several revered professional associations, Debra provides career guidance to alumni of top-tier business schools. Contact Debra at www.jobwhiz.com to expedite your executive ascent.

© Debra Feldman, 2008