The most important thing you must remember is that for you to survive these economic times, you have to take a Darwinian approach to your job hunting and you will have to present yourself as the most qualified, the most well recommended, and simply the best fit for the job amongst the thousands that you are applying against.
Concentrate on future goals:
Take some time out for a day, perhaps a “daycation” and do some soul searching, find out what it is that you really want to do with your career. Although this seems simple, we often don’t reflect back and consider what it was that we really wanted to do in the first place, that is, until it is too late. Write down your goal and chart out a simple plan to get there, your “chart” doesn’t need to be extravagant- put your plan on the back of a business card or an index card and put it where you see it every day- like on your refrigerator or on the bureau, the point is to reflect on your goal each day until you have succeeded what you hope to accomplish.
Write (or rewrite) your story:
Your resume is your professional story and it should reflect you as you best see yourself, but keep in mind that it is not an autobiography- you will want to focus on the key elements of what you can add to your prospective employer. Add strong statements that spotlight the key points of your career, demonstrate values, the ability to generate revenue and establish leadership roles. The most important thing you need to understand that your resume is a document that is intended to be read and to persuade; your resume must captivate your audience. Keep in mind also that your resume must be laid out to be easy to read in a clear and concise format. You need not to be a designer to make an effective layout, but the format must be attractive to read as well, much like an advertisement. Highlight your work experiences: achievements and accomplishments, rather than just you’re your responsibilities. This will give the prospective employer the idea that you work for more than just a paycheck and achievements give interest to your resume. Above all else, make sure that your name, address and other contact information are clearly found on your resume.
Engage social media:
Publish your professional profile on social media sites, and then engage former colleagues to post a recommendation for you. LinkedIn has a “pay it forward” way of getting recommendations, simply write in a few kind words of your former coworker and ask them to return the favor. Don’t know what to write? Go down to the bookstore or the internet and look for resources of sample letters of recommendation- find something that fits – write in the name of your colleague and it will appear as if you spent hours writing the recommendation. After you write them a recommendation, gently ask them to return the favor. You will be surprised by the results of such actions, and this provides you with an immediate source of a recommendation without the bother of asking for the telephone number and address.
Study, research and advance:
Go back to school, again if you have to: The main purpose of your lifetime goal is to seek ways to get what you want from life which means addressing obstacles like obtaining a degree. Today’s universities are more flexible than ten or twenty years ago and there are many programs out there today that are more than accommodating to assist first time learners- to guide them through the process of reintegrating themselves in the educational system. Research the companies’ websites that you are applying to and how they present themselves to their consumers, use the same language in your resume and cover letter to reflect or mirror the objective of the company.
Spend time looking (A lot of time):
Dedicate at least 20 hours a week to your job search, usually it takes two to three weeks to find a job that is more fitting with your expectations. CareerBuilder and Monster.com are good choices and offer the added value of posting your resume, but advertisers pay a lot of money (up to $500 per job advertisement) to post for potential candidates. Seek any, and I do mean any resource you find to seek jobs, I have successfully found three jobs on a free-posting job site. A word of caution for the “free” job sites, any prospective employer who emails you a job potential based on a credit report is suspect and you should not give out your personal information to any company that sends you an email prompt. Practice common sense and patience in your job search, if you did your homework and built your /work history properly: ultimately you will have the opportunity you are seeking.