If you have been looking for work for many months and you are growing increasingly frustrated or hopeless, you aren't alone. Here are five things to consider:
Your resume: Many people list a job objective at the top of the resume. For example: "Seeking a position as a medical sales representative in the Chicago area." The objective, which then has to be rewritten for every application, is often not very compelling. The hiring manager knows the job he or she is hiring for, and knows that you've applied for it. What they don't know is if you're really worth their time. So, what's your most compelling selling point? You might try: "Persistent, engaging communicator with a passion for sales in a tough market." Focus your statement on your skills: Your insight, acumen, persistence, bleeding-edge expertise. Keep it brief and punchy. (I heard this advice pretty early in my working life and I've always used it. But check out Ask a Manager's Alison Green for more advice on resumes.)
Your network: New York magazine has some great advice for three real job seekers. The advice given to the mother who's heading back to work is useful for anyone who has been out of the job hunt for a while, perhaps because they've been employed with one company for a long time.
[Tory Johnson, chief executive of Women for Hire] advises Brennan to launch a profile on LinkedIn, which lets her do several things: reconnect with former co-workers; seek out hiring managers at desirable firms by searching for the company and the manager’s job title; request introductions to managers through her network; make her profile and résumé Google-able. Off-line, Brennan should tell everyone about her job hunt—especially the other moms at the playground. “They have sisters and husbands who work where you want to go,” says Johnson.
It can be very useful to establish yourself as an expert in the local community and online. Could you give a speech to your local chamber of commerce about something? Could you start a blog about the same subject? It should be clear to all that you are looking to put that expertise to work somewhere.
Your method: Get off the Internet for a few hours each day, especially if you are looking for work nearby. Use your phonebook to track down local companies in a field that interests you--and a field where your skills would be relevant. Call up companies and ask about job openings, or go knock on doors with a resume at the ready. (Make sure you look professional while you're out there). The Internet may seem promising but it can be extremely unresponsive.
Your targets: While the current economic slowdown is now affecting nearly every industry and business sector, some will tend to hold up better. Can your skills transfer to the health care industry, or the accounting industry? Peruse this list of fields or careers that will weather the downturn well, and consider how your experience, skills and strengths might work in them. Begin focusing some of your time on looking for work in these fields.
Your requirements: If you're looking for a job that's in your town, that matches your previous salary, and is in the same field--you're going to be looking for a while. The more you're able to loosen up your immediate requirements, the shorter the search will be. Consider taking on temporary or contract work. Look for opportunities to freelance. Consider the possibility of traveling farther for work. Figure out how much money you need to survive, because you may able to lower your salary requirements. Be open to industries and jobs that you might never have considered previously. A while ago, I interviewed a sales rep who worked as an electrician's apprentice when he was out of work. He was later able to combine his sales experience with his new expertise in a job for a lighting company.