How to Get a Job

Posted by T | 11:35 PM | 0 comments »

Awhile back, I posted an article about what to do when you lose your job. I got a lot of good positive feedback on that post, but I also got some criticism. The criticism went something like this: "That's just career advice about how to keep your job or network, but it doesn't tell you how to go about getting another job."

As the U.S. plunges deeper into recession, jobs are evaporating before our very eyes. Each day we are hearing about another company that is dumping thousands of jobs. Although I'm not a big fan of Starbucks, I was sorry to see that they are cutting even more jobs and closing additional stores. This means that there are people out there who need to find another job. With the unemployment rate creeping toward ten percent, that's going to be increasingly hard to do.

As I mentioned before, I went through a six month bout of unemployment during the recession of 1991. In hindsight, I did everything wrong while trying to get another job. Hopefully, you'll be able to learn from my mistakes, do the opposite thing, and find yourself gainfully employed again.

Here are the mistakes I made, and what I SHOULD have done:

1. I actually turned down work. Yes, that's right. About two weeks after losing my job, I was offered another one. It paid about the same as what I had been making. So why didn't I take it? I thought it wasn't as prestigious as the job I once had. Money notwithstanding, it was something of a step down. This was a huge mistake. I should have taken the job, and then continued to look while I was working. At least I would have been earning a paycheck.

2. I didn't look for work every day. When another job opportunity didn't present itself, I got depressed and frustrated, and thought that maybe I just wasn't as good at my job as I thought I was. I stopped looking for work and spent a lot of time feeling sorry for myself. What I should have done was treated my job search as my new job. When you are unemployed, you actually have a sales job. The product you are selling is yourself. How would you market a product? How would you get the word out? If you don't talk to people about our product and let them know it's available, you aren't going to make any sales. The same applies to finding a job.

3. I kept sending out the same resume over and over again. I often see this quote in news articles about people who have been unemployed for a long time: "Yes, this economy is terrible. I have sent out 100 resumes and I haven't received a singe response." This probably has less to do with the economy and the quality of the candidate, and more to do with the resume itself. If you are sending out hundreds of resumes and nobody is biting, your resume probably stinks. Spend a few dollars of your unemployment check and have a professional write one for you, along with a snappy cover letter. If your resume doesn't attract attention, you're in for a long bout of unemployment.

4. I didn't tell my friends I was unemployed. I didn't tell anyone I knew that I was out of work, because I was embarrassed. I felt like a failure, and I didn't want anyone to know. Fast forward a few years, when I was fired from a job when the company I worked for was sold to a competitor. I told EVERYONE I knew that I was out of work. I emailed people, called them on the phone...they all knew. "Hey Bob...look, I'm on the beach. Yep, lost my job. Do you know anyone who's hiring?". Within a week, I had another job.

5. I relied on "want ads". Every week, I would grab the Sunday paper, look through the want ads and say "well, there aren't any jobs for me this week, either." Then I would wait for the paper to come out next Sunday. These days, people rely on online want ads like Monster.com. That's OK, but don't let it be your sold means of finding out about work opportunities. Check with professional organizations that are related to your field of work. Their web sites usually have job listings. Make use of the local employment office, temp agencies, and web sites of companies you would like to work for. In my case, I picked up the Yellow Pages and just started calling companies cold on the phone, asking if they were hiring. The very last number I called panned out. They told me they were hiring and they wanted me to come to their office the next week. I got the job.

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