“The economy has been fitful for two years since the recession formally ended. In the past, spending and hiring rapidly recovered after deep downturns. But the damage the housing bust and subsequent credit crisis did to household and business balance sheets appears to have hobbled that rebound.” (Wall Street Journal, July 9, 2011, Worries Grow Over U.S. Jobs)

As a former career counselor and current portfolio manager, I am steeped in the economic and employment picture today. According to this disappointing article in the Wall Street Journal, jobs are not picking up very rapidly nor are salaries or weekly work hours rising. For those out of work, it is an extremely dark time with tremendous competition for available jobs. Although economic, employment, and business growth is cyclical, and will eventually improve, that is little consolation for those out of work.


It’s a numbers game

The more people you know, meet, and contact, the more likely it is that you will run into someone with a job lead or suggestion. Here’s how to bulk up the number of contacts in your circle.

  1. Go through your former work colleagues, email, LinkedIn, Facebook, association, and religious contacts. Make a list of everyone who might know someone in your industry.
  2. Call on the telephone each one with a script such as this: “I am looking for information and opportunities in ____________ (your field). Here’s a quick summary of the type of skills I bring to the table. Do you or anyone you know have a few minutes to chat about the current professional environment.” Stress, that you are looking for information, in addition to a job.
  3. You want to schedule a 20 minute in person (preferably) or phone meeting, the purpose of which is to indirectly promote yourself and expand your reach.
  4. Come prepared with a few questions such as, “How did you get into the field?, How do you see the professional climate in this industry?, What are the main issues confronting this field?”
  5. End the meeting with this question, “Do you know anyone else I might speak with in the field?”

Your goal

Increase your number of contacts.

Keep active in your field.

Subtly and gracefully promote yourself. (for example, “Oh, by the way, when I was in this field, we increased sales in the region with this method.”)

Grow your network as you walk away with more contacts, and more potential leads.

How this method leads to employment

Especially in today’s world of ecommunication, you will set yourself apart by actually talking with people, in person or on the phone. They will be more likely to meet with you if you are coming to chat about the field and request information (not ask directly for a job) for a limited time period. By speaking with more and more individuals, making a strong impression,  and learning more about your industry you increase the probability of one of the contacts leading to information about a job. Additionally, by adding to your “job search activities” you leave less time to ruminate and worry about your situation.

Action leads to confidence and results!

What job search tips have worked for you?

image credit; moojieturtle

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