When the economy is depressed for years, many people become discouraged and give up on looking for employment. They begin to think that no one will want their services, and as a result they decide to wait for the market to improve before they begin to mail out resumes again. This is the wrong strategy. Even in a down economy, you can score that job with some planning and perseverance.
The first, and perhaps most important step in getting a job is to network. When the economy is in bad shape, employers can afford to be pickier. They are often more likely to hire a skilled employee whom they know or whom is a friend of another well-regarded employee. The more people you know, the more likely you are to find a job. Attend networking events, business lunches, workshops, and as many social events as you can afford. Get to know people and causally mention that you are looking for a job. You may be surprised to learn that many companies are still hiring, but may not be widely advertising.
The next step is to polish your resume. Consider ways to make your resume look more modern and attractive. First impressions do matter, so changing the font or layout for a more polished look can make a big difference in how recruiters initially view your information. Update the information and consider how you might highlight the important details that will be more impressive. For example, if you have extensive employment experience, consider placing the employment section above the education section. Alternatively, if you have worked on many projects and have a number of job-related skills, consider switching to a functional resume that highlights your positive experiences.
Unless an employer specifically says they do not want one, write a cover letter for the position. Many employees have gotten their jobs specifically because they cared enough to write a thoughtful, detailed cover letter that sold their best assets. Tell the recruiter how you might benefit their company and why you are a good fit for the position. Highlight the most important experiences on your resume and explain why these experiences make you a good candidate for the position. Make the letter personal. Name the position specifically and tie your discussion in with their job requirements and the skills they mentioned on the job ad.
Check over the application, resume, and cover letter carefully. Attention to detail is a benefit for nearly any position, and having a grammatically-perfect and well-organized set of application documents will give you a significant advantage over those who did not make the same effort.
Finally, put yourself out there. You will not get a job if you do not apply for one. Go to every interview, even if you are not sure if the position is a good fit. Do your research about the position and the company beforehand so you can speak intelligently about the company and ask informed questions. After the interview, send a brief thank you note. Small touches like these can make the difference between getting the job and being rejected.
Do not give up, even if you get many rejections. The perfect job could be right around the corner. The odds are in your favor, after all. Few people are permanently unemployed, especially highly motivated and detail-oriented employees like you.
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