I’ve worked with hundreds of clients, this year alone, and at some point throughout our interaction I am guaranteed to hear these five words, I – Just – Need – A – Job. CFO’s willing to work as Accounting Clerks, Operations Managers applying for Customer Service Representative positions and Owners closing up shop to take the first thing that comes their way. With the unemployment rate at 7.9 percent (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics) and gas prices soaring to an all time high (Gasbuddy), who can’t relate to the anxiety, frustration, and in many cases hopelessness a job-seeker is experiencing?
It has been said, for every $10,000 in annual salary your search will take a month. We must realize then, for the job-seeker averaging $120,000 per year, he could be facing one year of unemployment!” With the average American family’s net worth plummeting almost 40% between 2007 and 2010, living on savings and UI Benefits may not be feasible.
So, where should a job-seeker begin?
First, put together a ‘Career Team’. This team should consist of the following: family, friends, former co-workers, recruiters and a professional résumé writer. These individuals and/or services must be committed to your success, understand your concerns and willing to walk with you until you achieve your goal of employment.
Secondly, communicate with your team. Let them know you’re in-between jobs and could really use their assistance in your search. Tell them why you’ve chosen them and how they can assist you. For example:
- [Family] “Sweetie, I know we’re in this together, but until I’m able to secure a new job, we may need to… ” (Take this time to go over the bills, savings and ways to maximize every dollar. Also, express your concerns with regards to your impending career search and how you will need emotional support throughout this journey).
- [Friends] “John, you’ve known me for 12 years, now, would you mind serving as a character reference?” Strong character references can help influence the hiring manager’s decision to hire you.
- [Former Co-workers] “Sally, I’d like to list you as a preferred reference, do you feel you know me well enough to serve as a reference?” (If the answer is anything less than enthusiastic, reassure them that you understand their hesitation and wouldn’t want to put them in an uncomfortable position; however, you would welcome the opportunity to stay in touch. Connect with them on LinkedIn, join networks that support your career goals and keep them posted on what you’re looking for in your next job. They may know just the person you should speak with.
- [Recruiters] Remember, recruiters are paid by the companies who retain them to fill jobs. So, when you call, don’t expect them to be overly responsive. Ask how often you should follow-up. If they don’t give you a timeframe, be sure to check in at least once a month.
- [Professional Résumé Writer] Even if you decide to DIY, you will want to have a résumé service critique your résumé. There are hundreds of online services that offer FREE critiques. Ask to speak with a writer who is knowledgeable in your industry to gain insight about industry specific keywords and applicant tracking systems, as well as the Pros and Cons of job board posting and distribution services. (Some may not be relevant to your job search)
Finally, know yourself. Who are you? What have you done? What makes you special? Why should the Company hire you? This is one sentence – ideally, 5-10 words in length. For example, “I am an (Experienced Sales Executive) who (builds teams) to (achieve quota performance in down markets).”
Remember, finding a job is work. So, build a team around you that will help you succeed.
Jessica Dillard is the co-founder of Dillard & Associates, a five-time, award-winning Career Staffing and Professional Resume Writing Service. With more than 15 years of industry expertise, she deals with subject matters that are of interest to job-seeking clients. You can follow Jessica on twitter at @Resume_Pros.