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Eight Secrets for Getting a Great Job in a Weak Market


During times of uncertainty and a “soft” economy, job seekers must work even harder to find opportunities, especially if they are unemployed. It may not be as easy to make a change or find a new job as it once was, but it is doable. Finding a job may take you longer than it may have in the past, and the competition may be tougher than ever, but neither is reason to give up. There are a number of things that you can do to secure a great job in a weak market. This article is about doing just that starting with identifying your accomplishments and incorporating them into your resume.

Secret # 1–One size does not fit all
Let’s talk resumes. A resume is a work in progress because you will carefully customize each resume that you send out. It should include a specific job objective as well as a credentials summary or key job skills section. It should also highlight your most important accomplishments. It’s more than a basic description of what you’ve done. It is also an indication of how well you’ve done it. In addition, don’t confuse a resume with a job application. An application is cut and dry. A resume is your first opportunity to highlight your successes and grab the reader’s attention. You also need to decide whether or not, in addition to a chronological resume, you want to prepare a functional resume. A functional resume gives you a unique opportunity to showcase your skills in a different format. Want to find a job in a weak market? Start by customizing your resume.

Secret #2–Take time to rejuvenate
Imagine that you’ve been looking for a job nonstop. The economy is sluggish and the jobs just don’t seem to be out there. You are burned out and tired of pounding the pavement. You are not even getting interviews, much less offers. Very few job openings for your specific field appear in the newspaper or via the Internet. It sounds like it’s time to take a break and relax for an hour or even a day if you need to. It’s important to schedule “down time” so that you can rejuvenate. Sometimes a fresh perspective follows an intense job campaign after a short break.

Secret #3–Re-examine your decision to quit a job
Voluntarily quitting a job during a weak job market may not be a good decision. Many people who are unhappy with their current job are keeping their eyes and ears open for new opportunities. However, they will not jeopardize their present jobs unless they feel it’s definitely a good move. Only you can make this decision. For example, Frank needed a change after eight years of working with the same company as a software engineer. He was bored and unhappy. He didn’t get along with his boss or his co-workers. He started looking for another position and when he found “something,” he quit. Looking back, he realized that he had been running away from a job, and that much of how he felt was of his own doing. His new job wasn’t what he had anticipated either. He quit that job and is now looking for a job once again, only this time in an even more sluggish economy.

Secret #4–Are you willing to relocate?
The word “relocate” typically strikes either a positive or negative cord with most job seekers. For those who are eager to move to another part of the country or world, they are delighted to hear the words, “Are you willing to relocate?” For others, the word “relocate” is not what they want to hear. However, in a weak job market, it’s in your best interest to keep an open mind regarding relocation. For example, if you had the opportunity to double your salary by moving to an unattractive place, would you reconsider? Think about this, it doesn’t hurt to interview; you can always, after thoughtful consideration, say, “No thank you.” You don’t have to do anything you don’t want to do, but you may never know what’s out there unless you open up your search to all possibilities.

Secret #5–Remain flexible
Job hunting in a weak market presents its own challenges, one of which is remaining flexible. In other words, are you willing to take a job within your field of engineering that is not exactly what you had in mind? If you are agreeable to trying something slightly different and learning new skills, you may get the attention of the recruiter. In some cases, employers can’t find an exact match to fill a vacancy and they are willing to hire someone based on flexible thinking and the potential to do something new.

Secret #6–Stay focused
When the job market is weak, some job seekers take the “hit or miss” approach to job hunting. In a weak market, more than ever, you need to stay focused on specific jobs with specific employers. This does not mean you can’t be flexible. It means you don’t want to waste your time mass mailing your resume to companies that are not a good fit for you and never will be. If you have done your homework, you will use your time wisely and focus on jobs and companies that are part of your target market.

Secret #7–Prepare for tough interview questions
Economic conditions have not changed what takes place during the job interview. You still need to be prepared for the interview, especially the tough questions. Companies today can be more selective than they were five years ago when there appeared to be more jobs than people. Although there are still more jobs than people in some fields, the competition is fierce. The demand today continues to be for skilled, articulate, intelligent, and energetic engineering professionals. But can you convince the prospective employer that you are a perfect fit? You can if you answer the questions to their satisfaction including, “Why have you decided to make a job change at this time?” Or, “Can you share with me three of your weaknesses–things that you are working on to improve about yourself?” Or, “How long have you been unemployed and why haven’t you found a job yet?” How you choose to answer each of these questions, plus many others, is one of the secrets to getting a job offer.

Secret #8–Don’t give up
Many things in life don’t come easy, so don’t give up. Looking for a job can be frustrating. It’s also very time-consuming. But, if you have made the decision to change jobs you have to accept the fact that there will be good and less than good days. Follow your marketing plan and keeping moving forward. Take time off to spend with family and friends, but never lose sight of the fact that looking for a job is a job. If you are unemployed you have even more pressure to find a job. Many people who lose a job feel that their self-esteem was injured. We identify so closely with our job titles and positions at work that when we lose our jobs we are often devastated and may feel abandoned, angry and depressed. These feelings are normal, but you can’t let them drag you down and interfere with your job search. Jim Valvano, the late basketball coach of the North Carolina State Wolf Pack team, said, “It’s always too soon to quit.” Whether talking about a fight for life, or about your job search, it truly is too soon to quit. Do what you have to do to keep up your spirits during your search.

In conclusion, there are many secrets for getting a job in a weak market; the above-mentioned are only a few. Job hunting during a weak market and times of uncertainly require a strategy and commitment to go the extra mile in your own behalf when needed. There is a direct correlation between how much time and effort you put into your search and how quickly you find what you are looking for. Don’t let a sluggish economy slow you down if finding a job is on the top of your list of things you need to do.

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