If you're a jobseeker, you heard the last thing you wanted to hear this week: unemployment is at a 26-year high. And if you're an HR executive looking for the right person for the jobs you do have, you didn't exactly hear what you wanted to hear, either: some job-seekers are opting out of the market. The last thing you need are fewer qualified candidates from which to choose. OK, we all heard these things. Now file them away and get back to work. This is the time to be fearless. Aware, yes, but fearless nonetheless. It's time to get some perspective. This is not the first economic downturn our country has experienced. We'll get through it. In fact, relief appears to be in sight. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke predicts the recession will end this year, with many economists forecasting that the economy will start to grow again later this quarter. With this in mind, here are five tips for recharging your job search --
1. Stay Active. No goal is reached if you don't move toward it. You have to keep identifying and applying for jobs -- every week. For the jobseeker, unemployment is a temporary state of being, a state of transition. Don't become immobilized by it. Don't curl up in an emotional cocoon somewhere; people are way too busy these days to unravel the layers and force you out.
2. Seek Out Others. Your friends and colleagues know things you don't . . . and they know other people besides you. Networking is more vital than ever in a down economy. Ask. Seek. Small words can open big doors. Don't retreat into the limited world of classifieds and job boards.
3. Focus Externally. What you really want is the best job for you. To get that, you need to focus on why you are the best fit for them. This is where definition comes in. Who you will be becomes even more important than who you were. Impress perspective employers by being very clear about what you can do for them. It's logical to base this on what you've done in the past, but the future is the focus.
4. Follow the Money. You need a good job and you need income. Money is a bit of a concern, right? Prospective employers need good managers, but money is a bit of a concern to them, too. Does this mean you offer to work for less? No. But it might be a smart move to approach them with your own ideas about why hiring you would be a benefit to their bottom line. Obviously, that means putting in a little extra research, knowing the ins and outs of the prospective employer. Guerilla HR's Patrick Williams is appalled at how little effort the new generation of jobseekers puts into researching an employer before the all-important interview. Even worse, he notes that some jobseekers seem unfamiliar with their own resumes, making the interview a bit awkward at the least. Share ideas of how you will save them money. Share with them how you've done that in the past. How will you play a part in perking up their performance? In a recession economy, money talks more loudly than ever.
5. Be Confident. Some 26 years ago, the marketplace for jobseekers was just as tight as it is today. We muddled through and some of those wide-eyed enthusiasts who stayed focused and active are now running the companies you're interviewing with today. So, don't panic. And remember, more than 90 percent of us are employed -- and there are millions of open jobs still out there.