Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Drastic Times Call For Drastic Measures

Our present high unemployment situation doesn't appear as if it is going to change in the near future. Published government reports say our present unemployment stands at 9.5% slightly down from previous months, but this report came out prior to the laying off of all the temporary jobs that were created for US census takers, which has now been completed and those people are once again back in the unemployment pool.  The July statistics will be published on August 6th and I personally expect to see that figure rise back up to double digits.

Drastic times call for drastic measures in trying to get back into the employed sector. Therefore I am going to make some suggestions that hopefully will help you keep your present skills polished while you are attempting to get back into the brick and mortar sector of employment or perhaps sharpen some of your own personal skills allowing you to stay self employed and working from home. For those of you who feel that raising buffalo or bees is a little to adventurous for you, why not look at your other skills.

Finding a job or new career is like having a job in itself. It takes time, research, organization, determination and needs to be done every day, from 9am - 5pm,  just as if you were actually employed at a company. The average length of being unemployed has increased dramatically over the past two years. The expectations of meeting your old salary requirements or increasing your salary requirements are out the window. The longer you are unemployed, the more you can expect your beginning salary with a new company to decrease from what you once were making. I don't mean to burst your bubble and your expectations, I am just the messenger, reporting to you what I've been reading. If you have been astute in your "homework" of job hunting, you know exactly what I am saying because you have read it also.

Take Inventory of your skills

Take a sheet of paper and fold it lengthwise down the center. On the left side, starting with your last position of employment, list the name of the company and your job title. On the right side, I want you to list all the skills that you used to perform that position.

I want you to work backwards, through all of your jobs, from the time you started working.

Look for the common denominator of skills that you used in each of those positions. Those will be your primary skills .

Now I want you to take a notebook or create an excel spreadsheet on your computer, or a folder where you can keep track of your work search information. List the last 5 jobs that you have had (don't be concerned about how many years ago some may go back)  Not only do I want you to list the company's name but I also want you to list the type of company that it is.... IE: retail, manufacturing, engineering, etc.

Next you are going to use the businesses section of your  telephone book. Start at Z, yes that is what I said, start at Z and work your way back to A. Most people when they job hunt, start with A and miss out on some great opportunities back at Z!  As you review the names of the companies, think about how that particular company could use your skills in their organization. Start writing down names of companies, their address and phone number. Next column, list the skills that you will prompt to them. Next column will be reserved for a contact name at the company, small column to place a check mark saying you have either sent or given them a resume in person, with the date. Make a column where you can write up facts that you have learned about the company itself (this will help you during the interviewing process). Next column is where you list your interviews, the name of the persons you interviewed with and your impressions. Last column, place the date and a check mark for the Thank You note that you are going to write them for the interview. Some people don't think that a thank you note is important, but I can tell you from personal experience, as well as what I'm currently reading even now, this is one thing that is really looked at favorably in the interviewing process.

As you continue your search for permanent employment, don't be afraid to contact the companies that you have interviewed with or those that just say they have no openings at the present time, sending them a letter offering your services and skills as an independent contractor on an "as needed" basis.

Following Up

Following up after your interviews is very important. When you interview, one of the questions that you do need to ask is in what time frame are they planning to make a decision about this position. If they say they are going to make a decision at the end of a month, there is nothing wrong wit contacting the company at the end of that time frame to verify that they have closed out the position and have made a hiring decision. There is always a chance that they didn't have enough qualified applicants and are leaving the position open for additional applicants. This is a good way to get your name back in front of them and tell them that you are still interested in the position. Ask them to review your resume and application and ask if there is any specific skills that you don't have that they are looking for to fill that position. Let them know that you would be willing to acquire those skills in order to be considered for the position.

Most  people who have crafts and hobbies always have materials around and if you get things ready now, they could be a source of income for you. Many small boutiques are now finding that their customers really appreciate having handcrafted items and are drawing on local artisans for merchandise. This could actually end up being a full time employment if you are lucky to make that type of connection.