Searching for a job in an economic downturn can feel demoralizing. Whether you are unemployed or
underemployed, when there are multiple candidates for every open position you find, it is easy
to feel defeated.
But just because the job market is a little soft does not mean you can not find a good fit in the
workforce. It just means you are going to have to work harder to make it happen. And working
harder means you are going to have to work smarter.
Use Social Media Wisely
Social media is an integral part of job hunting. If you are not using it, you should. But do not
get fooled into pursuing a social-media-only approach as a meal ticket into a better job
Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter work well and you need to leverage your social media profiles for
maximum effectiveness. Your LinkedIn page should complement your resume. Good educational
outcomes and academic achievements should jump off the page.
If you have pursued education past undergraduate work, highlight it. If you have pursued
additional online degrees, make sure you feature them. But do not get so caught up in the social
media component of your job search that you ignore old school job search tactics.
Just because social media is a relative newcomer to the job search toolbox does not mean it
should be your only weapon. Think of social media exposure and Internet networking as a tactic
in a much larger toolkit.
There Is No Substitute for Face Time
No. I am not talking about the new iPad 2-camera capability here. I am talking about actually
getting out and spending time with real human beings in the real world. Human connections still
matter more than you might think. Social media and electronic interactions may play a much
larger role than they used to, but knowing someone inside a company can still get you a job
faster than almost any other method.
Taking time to leverage friendships into potential employment options is important. Contrary to
what you may have heard, mixing business and pleasure is entirely appropriate when you are job
searching. There is no reason to feel bad about asking acquaintances for leads.
In many scenarios, if you are a good candidate for an opening, they may take your resume and
cover letter and bypass HR completely. An HR professional may not intuitively understand how
perfect you may be for a position. So if you have a contact who has a relationship with the
hiring manager, your chances may be heightened.
If you want to gain an edge in a competitive job market you need to be as flexible as possible.
That may mean reconsidering some assumptions. If your particular geographic region has been
especially adversely affected by the downturn, you may want to consider relocating. There are
specific areas within the country where significant job growth is actually occurring.
Relocating carries some element of risk but has the potential to pay off big. If you have used
social media wisely and identified where those job hot spots are happening, you may be able to
move into an area where your skill sets are actually in high demand. Incorporating flexibility
and the entire tactical toolkit into your job search strategy can go a long way toward your
employment end goal.