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Monday, February 16, 2009

Getting A Job In A Down Market

How To Create Competitive Advantage In Your Search
by Steve Brown

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I believe one of the important principles of marketing and branding is: being different is always better. As unemployment swells to 5 million citizens, an increasing number of my friends and acquaintances are refreshing their connections and asking for help finding new jobs. The internet era is motivating everyone to get online, and use social networking sites such as LinkedIn, FaceBook, and Monster. That is the problem - everyone is doing it. While I believe one must get involved in that new way of finding work leads, I'm increasingly advising job seekers to return to the basics and create face time with potential employers.

Distinguishing Yourself From The Crowd

There are really only two ways to improve your chances of getting a job. First, is finding the lead and closing on the interview ahead of the crowd. Second is to create the job opportunity by getting in front of potential hiring managers and showing them what you can do.

Internet based job search does not give anyone an advantage except the hiring company. It reduces their costs to find more qualified candidates. There is an illusion that you're able to find more open positions than if you use traditional search techniques. But the numbers don't play out in your favor.

Shifting Job Market and Acquiring New Skills

Another challenge people are facing is the shrinkage of available jobs in their area of expertise. More people are needing to make career transitions, some small, some significant. It isn't easy to convince a hiring manager to take a chance on you when there are so many qualified candidates available.

A Fresh Idea - A Return To The Past

I am increasingly advising people to enhance their internet-age job search with an approach of old. You could call it apprenticeship, or simple smart hustle. Either way, more and more people are recognizing that they are against some giant odds in finding a job quickly. My guidance to is to offer their services free to managers and executives at companies where they'd like to work. The strategy is to get in front of potential hiring managers, show them what you can do, and learn about the companies needs, long before a job is posted to the internet for hiring.

We used to do this in college - they were called internships. There are several options for marketing these experiences into resume' builders. You can create a consulting company that provides specific services, or simply offer yourself. As you network with executives you can explain that you're building your experience base and are willing to offer yourself free for a period of time in exchange for the experience, the resume' entry, and their reference. Limit the time you are committed each day so you can continue your job searching. And put yourself to work. This gives you inside access to lots of people.

Marketing yourself this way provides you access to potential hiring managers that you can't reach if you're just looking for a job. It's catching on, and I hope it helps. We need to get creative in this economic turmoil in order to move past it and return to more positive prosperity.

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The article "Getting A Job In A Down Market", the subtitle "How To Create Competitive Advantage In Your Search" and contents herein, unless otherwise specified in writing - by Effetti, Inc. are ALSO licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.
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Gary said...

Great information. As a technology worker recently laid off, I can relate. It is certainly not the same as it used to be out there. These methods and good old fashioned networking are really what you have to do.

In my first two weeks on the market, networking netted me three opportunities to pursue.

Keep up the great work guys.

Gary in Beaverton Oregon.

Ramesh M said...

Very thoughtful article. I can identify with it well as I made (significant) career switches from EDA marketing to consulting to Web 2.0 and email marketing.

The only thing I would add (although seems a no brainer) is persistence. You need to keep pinging your potential employer, show interest, and let him/her know that (with each week of your continued correspondence) that you have learnt something new.

In addition, while positioning yourself for the job, you need to tailor your resume to "exact" requirements of the job. That way, you would immediately connect with the hiring manager than when you have a generic resume.

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