As someone who just recently found herself back to work after being unemployed for almost 9 months, I can offer some interesting first-hand perspective on this issue.
When I first lost my job, I was devastated, but still pretty optimistic. I have a variety of transferrable skills and I was sure that I would be back to work in no time at all. It didn’t happen so easily.
There are so many clichés about what you should be doing when you’re unemployed and everyone has advice for you to follow. I wish I could give you one tried and true thing that worked for me, but there wasn’t one thing that stood out.
What I feel I did right…
The first thing I did every morning was hit the computer and search job websites. One of the best sites I encountered and used was Indeed.com. Indeed.com allows you to establish resume keywords that you would search job boards for and they pull all the open jobs from the most popular boards and send them to you on a daily basis.
You really do need to take the time to go through every job and see if it looks like it is a good fit for your skills. Sometimes Indeed would send me 15 new job postings, and sometimes it would only be one. I searched every listing to ensure it was a good fit for my skills.
Customized resume and cover letter
One of the most important tips to remember is to customize your resume and cover letter to the specific position you are applying for. Every resume I sent out looked like I wrote it exclusively for that position. And when I wrote my cover letters, I used the name of the person I was contacting opposed to a generic “To Whom It May Concern.” Resumes and cover letters that appear to be canned will be thrown out before they are even viewed. And people like to see their name in print.
Attended networking events
Every region has job fair and networking events. I attended a few job fairs when I was freshly unemployed, but all I found were sales and collection positions, which weren’t in my interest. So I all but stopped attending.
However, I did find networking events to be of some assistance. The best advice I can offer is when you’re attending a networking event is to make up business cards with your name on them and don’t be afraid to network. Talk to people, see what they do and what their company is like. Sell your skills. You can make some great contacts and maybe your business card will fall into the right hands.
Utilized the Department of Labor
When you’re first unemployed, the Department of Labor sends you to a mandatory class where they teach you how to search for jobs, hand out useful resources, offer resume and cover letter writing classes and career counseling. The class itself didn’t really share any earth shattering information for me, but I took advantage of some of the other options for assistance.
I utilized the career counseling and had several meetings with a counselor. She took a good look at my resume and evaluated it for effectiveness and helped me examine other key words I could to search for to open up new job avenues. In addition I signed up for their job search called SMART workforce. It’s an email that sends job postings through the Department of Labor that specifically meet your qualifications. I received a lot of great leads from that email.
What I probably did wrong…
Attended networking events
I know what you’re saying…”wait, didn’t you say this was something you did right?” Yes. In a manner of speaking, but I also did this all wrong. As I mentioned, I stopped going to job fairs because all I encountered at the first few were sales and collection positions. But if I had continued to go, I may have found a diamond in the rough position some other time.
I went to many networking events, but I didn’t start carrying business cards with me until one of the last ones I attended. I don’t know what I was thinking after going to the first several without business cards and waiting so long to get them printed up. When I finally did have business cards to present, I found myself much more open to networking and talking to people about future opportunities.
Didn’t volunteer my time
As I was unemployed for a longer period of time, more and more potential employers asked me what I had been doing with my time. My standard answer was that I had been actively searching job boards, researching and staying up to date on the newest industry news and trends within my field and attending networking events to keep my prospects open.
In hindsight, I wish I had been able to say that I was volunteering my marketing efforts for a not-for-profit company who could have benefited from my services. Not only would that have made me more appealing to my potential employer, but it would have helped me stay sharper with my marketing skills as well.
Of course as time went by and interview after interview went nowhere, I started to feel defeated. I began to wonder, even if the DOL had told me my resume looked great and there was nothing more I could do, if I was doing something wrong. Or maybe I just didn’t have the transferrable skills I thought I did when it came to marketing.
I began to wonder if a career change wasn’t in the cards and I stressed over what path to follow next. The fact of the matter is, it is one of the hardest times to be unemployed right now.
Employers can receive upwards of hundreds of resumes for every position they post. Getting yours to stand out is tricky. No matter how great your resume looks, when you’re one of 400, there’s a good chance the hiring manager may not even look at your resume.
The fact of the matter is: there are so many variables out there that can affect your job search. Don’t get downhearted and continue to pursue the positions and field you’re most interested in. Most of us really don’t have an option to switch career fields even if we wanted to without going back to school or attending classes of some sort.
Didn’t utilize job boards early enough
I finally posted my resume on several job boards and TxMQ found me. They initially interviewed me for a position with another company before deciding that I would actually be a great fit in house with their company to fulfill their marketing needs.
Sometimes all it takes is a trained eye on your resume to match you up with a position that’s truly worth your skills. Plus, some companies only post positions through employment agencies, so by contacting an agency or having your resume easily accessible to recruiters online, you stand a better chance than going at it all alone.
TxMQ, headquartered in Buffalo, NY provides flexible staffing solutions across all divisions and departments within a company. As a leading staffing agency, TxMQ provides placement of permanent and contract professionals within a wide variety of skill sets including Information Technology, Engineering and Manufacturing Operations, Accounting and Finance, Sales and Marketing, Human Resources, and Administrative Management.
Contact us today at 716-636-0070 ext 29, email email@example.com or visit us at www.txmq.com to find the solution that’s right for you.
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