This past week the national unemployment rate reached 7.5 percent, and many of you are wondering, “How do I find a job in these turbulent times?” There is no quick fix solution; however, I can share with you what people who are conducting successful job searches are doing.
“A job search requires focused intention, directed and diligent effort, a realistic but bright outlook, and patience,” says Meredith Haberfeld, the founder of Institute for Coaching. “People who do not find a job after several months are often not directing their effort most effectively.” People who are getting hired approach their search as a full-time job. They wake up early, have a cup of coffee and begin making phone calls and browsing the Internet, newspapers and trade magazines at 9 am, and keep at it until late into the evening.
Having a great resume is essential. It is a crucial marketing document that defines who you are and what sets you apart from the competition. However, opinions differ on how to use a resume. Too many job seekers focus their efforts on blindly submitting their resume to job postings, with limited results. They do this because it is easy and impersonal. What they should concentrate on is networking – this is how successful people find a job.
According to Haberfeld, “the single most important component of a successful job search is making contact with people in the field you’re interested in.” She advises her clients to “make at least three contacts every day. Whether it’s social networking, online or face to face, with people you know or people you don’t, cultivating your network is the best way to get results.”
So, why do so many job seekers avoid networking? “People in general have a misconception when it comes to networking,” Haberfeld says. “Some feel it shows a sign of desperation while others believe that people don’t care enough to help or are just too busy.” But the truth is that when you ask someone, even a total stranger, to help you find a job, the universal response is, “I would love to help; what can I do.”
Sometimes networking can be done using conventional methods and sometimes you need to be creative. Ruth Shapiro, of Ruth Shapiro Associates and vice president of Career Counseling Consortium, has an interesting take on networking: “Besides business contacts, you should be networking with people who provide you services.” She suggested giving a resume and talking about your job search with your dry cleaner and all the business owners you regularly patronize. When you think about it, this makes perfect sense. They are friendly, service oriented people and have long established relationships with hundreds of customers. Moreover, they know you, want to retain your business, and will gladly help you in your time of need.
How do you develop a job search network? Networking is a multi-step process of alerting as many people as possible that you are in the job market, getting introductions to people in their business and social network, and asking them to recommend you for a job they may know about.
Start with your family and friends. Share with them what you’re looking for, and ask them to introduce you to people in their network who may be helpful. Next, speak with people you know socially in places like your synagogue, yeshiva and health club. Speak with your doctor, your lawyer, your accountant and even your sheitel macher. They are easy to approach and would love to help you. Find friends from your past and reconnect. Find people you went to college with, high school, and even summer camp. “Each conversation is not a desperate plea, it’s an opportunity to connect, find out how they’re doing, share what’s happening in your life and enjoy the conversation,” says Haberfeld. “When you get over any fear about diving in, this can actually be great fun – and shockingly fruitful.”
Then reacquaint yourself with old business and social contacts. Touch base with prior bosses and co-workers. Contact clients and vendors you worked with in the past. Go through all the business cards you accumulated and call everyone in your personal and business address books. If they’ve moved on, Google them and look them up on Linked-In, Facebook and other social networking sites and in telephone and business directories
Finally, discreetly use social networking sites to obtain new contacts. Don’t post a resume; post a job wanted. Reach out to friends of friends and get to know them. Join networking groups online and around the city to meet people who can hire you and expand your network. Go to job fairs and contact organizations like the OU, National Young Israel, Agudas Yisroel and SAF, and go to their websites, job posting boards and job seminars.
If you do all of this you will find a job, even in this economy
If you have specific questions about your resume or job search, or would like to receive a free copy of my workbook ‘Job Hunting in the 21st Century,’ compliments of the Jewish Press, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call me at 646-894-4101.
Perry Newman, CPC, is President/CEO of First Impressions Resumes (www.firstimpressionsresumes.biz) in Brooklyn, and has over 25 years experience as a resume write, career coach and executive recruiter.