Career Report
August, 2008 — Issue 102

Bob Larson, CPC
Bob Larson, CPC

Re-Energizing a Job Search

With the economy continuing its slowdown and the job market tightening, out-of-work job seekers are finding it more and more challenging to locate a new position. As time goes by, it’s easy to feel discouraged and just as easy to lose your motivation. Clearly, for some, it may be time to make an attitude adjustment and re-energize a job search. In a Q&A feature article in The New York Times, careers columnist Eilene Zimmerman offered the following insight and guidance on the topic:

Q. If you’ve been out of work and looking for a job for several months, how can you re-energize yourself and your search?

When you begin a job search, it’s easy to feel hopeful and excited. But if months go by without an offer, that enthusiasm can wane and job seekers can start feeling personally rejected. “When a job search isn’t working we feel like a failure. You need to refocus and get outside of your own head,” said Martin Yate, an executive coach in Savannah, Ga., and author of “Knock ‘em Dead 2008: The Ultimate Job Search Guide.”

One way to reinvigorate the search and change your attitude is to do what businesses do when customers aren’t buying: “Find some trusted friends, preferably at the level of those interviewing you, and ask them to be brutally honest,” said Genia Spencer, managing director for a human resources consulting and recruiting firm in Atlanta.

“Ask them: ‘What might someone see in my résumé, my presence, the way I interview, that needs improvement? Is there something I take for granted that might differentiate me to a potential employer?’ Be willing to take their advice and make some changes,” she said.

Q. You send out résumés constantly for advertised positions, but get few responses. How can you ensure that yours is noticed?

Customize your résumé each time you send it out, using wording from the job posting to describe your own experience. Hiring managers generally use applicant tracking systems that search for keywords in résumés, rather than reading each one.

Q. Everyone tells you to network, but all those phone calls haven’t gotten you anywhere. Is there something more you could be doing?

Rather than asking for a job, ask for advice, said Kevin Donlin, creator of the Instant JobSearch System, a guide for job seekers that uses marking techniques. “Pick the five most successful people you know in your industry and ask them how they found their last three jobs,” he told the newspaper.

You could also hold a party–an especially good tactic for job seekers in their 20s. “Host a cocktail party and ask of friends to bring a friend that can aid in your job search, said Michael Jalbert, president of MRINetwork, a recruitment firm in Philadelphia. “Gen Y is all about teams and sharing.”

Q. What about social networking?

LinkedIn and Facebook are valuable tools, said Jason Alba, chief executive of the job search management site and author of “I’m on LinkedIn–Now What?” Alba recommended that job seekers have at least 65 LinkedIn connections — those who have agreed to be part of a person’s network — and use the “answers” feature to get advice from other users.”

“You can submit a question like, ‘I need someone in the marketing industry to talk about changing jobs.’ You can also search by company name and see who shows up that you might have some connection to and contact them,” he said. On Facebook, you can find networking groups built around industries, interests and specific companies.

Starting a blog by using sites like Bloggers, Typepad or WordPress – or on the Website Twitter, where users write small blogs called microblogs – also lets you showcase your professional knowledge and opinions, said Kurt Weyerhauser, managing partner of Kensington Stone, an executive search firm in Irvine, Calif.

Q. You have had numerous interviews, but no offers. Why not?

One possibility is that you’re talking about yourself too much. People often think that talking in great detail about past work experience is the only way to make a good impression, said Anne Stevens, a managing partner at ClearRock, an executive coaching and outplacement firm in Boston. A more effective interview strategy, she said, is to be a problem solver: research challenges the company or department faces and discuss how you could help tackle them.

Q. Could your expectations be unrealistic?

People usually underestimate the number of interviews it takes to find a job,” said Tony Behsara, author of “Acing the Interview” and “The Job Search Solution” and owner of Babich & Associates, a job placement firm in Dallas. “It’s a numbers game,” he told the newspaper. “The more interviews, the more chances you have.”

News from BLK

We are excited to announce the promotion of Joan Schulman to the position of Recruiter, Clinical and Biopharmaceutical Division. Joan is a graduate of BLK’s intensive Recruiter Training Program and will be responsible for placing Biostatisticians, SAS programmers, Research Associates, and other individuals related to the pharmaceutical clinical trial process. Please call Michele Meussner at 201-556-2884 for an introduction to this latest addition to BLK’s suite of services.

Bob Larson, CPC, is now the immediate Past Chair of NAPS, the National Association of Personnel Services, having served two years as Chairman. In this role he will serve in an advisory capacity, and will also be honored with a “roast” at the NAPS Annual Convention being held in October, 2008 in Orlando, Florida.