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Job Strategies in 2009 in Challenging Times

The economic outlook for 2009 looks grim. Pick up any newspaper, watch the evening news or scan the Web and the stories are the same….more layoffs, store closings, and mortgage woes. According to the Federal Reserve, the U.S. economy will get worse this year and unemployment is expected to rise into 2010. So how do you jumpstart your career when everything around you is turning south? Here’s a game plan:
1. Figure out who is hiring. One place to start your search is with the Bureau of Labor Statistics. www.bls.gov. Despite the economic downturn, these industries are still adding jobs:
–Education
–Professional and business services
–Information
–Leisure and hospitality
–Health care
–Mining/Oil and gas extraction
–Government

2. What do you like to do? Take stock of your interests and determine what you are really good at. Do a SWOT analysis of yourself so you can begin to map out a strategy. SWOT stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. If after 25 years in law enforcement, you are stumped when it comes to identifying a new career path, check out the self-assessment quizzes at www.careerpath.com.

3. Volunteer. You can’t spend all your available time looking for a job. My boss recommends dividing your days into thirds. Devote a third of your time to the job search, another third networking and maintaining your contacts, and the rest of the time volunteering for an organization or cause you are passionate about. Volunteering will help keep your attitude up and will expand your network of contacts. It will also improve your story when you are asked during a job interview, “What have you been doing since you left the government?”

4. Tailor your resume to the job. Position descriptions posted on company websites or job boards are a window into what organizations are really looking for in an employee. Read those postings carefully and edit your resume to reflect the matching skills. Microsoft gets thousands of resumes a day. One way to pare down the stack is to toss the resumes that don’t match the job description. Make a recruiter’s job easier by shaping the content of your resume to the roles you are applying for.

5. Be flexible. In a downturn market with more people looking for work, job seekers do not have as much leverage with companies. Keep your mind open to new industries, new locations, and a different title. If you are changing careers, you may have to take a step back in pay or perks to move forward. Keep your eye on the big picture and BE FLEXIBLE.



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