Eleven Tips on Job Hunting During a Recession

By Lisa Correu Principal/Job Search Advocate, AfterSchool Career Workshops

I'm sure you’re hearing about how crappy the employment situation is for recent grads. The sandwich board of doom says something like 20% aren’t getting employed and the number of grads with job offers before graduation is half what it was in 2007. But if you put some work into it, mix in a little creativity and stay focused you can get that job. Here are eleven tips to get you going.

1.  Look broadly. Don’t limit yourself to job openings posted online. Remember that only a fraction of open positions are posted or advertised. Actively consume all local business media to identify potential employers and assemble your own target list. Do your homework!

2.  Audit your network. Create a database of all of the contacts you can leverage in your search.

3.  Draft and practice your description of what you’re going to communicate to others: What you’re looking for and what you have to offer.

4.  Focus on the positive in all of your communications and networking conversations.

5.  Organize your search. Set weekly objectives, complete with an activities calendar, and stick to them. Keep track of all of your outgoing and incoming search-related communication.

6.  Show up.  Take note of job fairs and networking events sponsored by alumni associations and professional organizations. Go to at least two or three each month.

7.  Be easy to find. Make sure your professional information is updated and profiles are complete in all social media. Have a local phone number and professional email address and voicemail message.

8.  Polish your online image. Eliminate photos and information that will not help you in your search, and add recommendations and internships.

9.  Take advantage of all possible informational interviews. They are never a waste of time. They are always good practice, and you may meet someone who will want you to keep in touch.

10.  Be willing to start at the bottom. Internships or support roles are ideal ways to get started in an organization that can end up providing a genuine career opportunity.

11.  Don’t panic. If you don’t find a job in your chosen field right away, all is not lost. If you work in another type of job for a while, keep your contacts active by staying connected to professional organizations and being of service to them.

Keep this list beside you and go over it each time you sit down to job hunt. You can download a PDF here. It’s a great way to stay motivated and checking items off a to-do list can be very satisfying. Be sure and give yourself a break now and then. Hit a movie, take a walk, go to the library, clear your head and don’t feel bad when you do it. A balance of work and not-work is key to keep you from just throwing up your hands and joining the circus. Because even the lion is looking for work.

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