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Advice for finding a job when nothing else is working

If your job search isn’t getting the results you want, perhaps you are using outdated strategies. Times have changed. Opportunities are scarce, making the job search more competitive than ever. A bit of technological know-how, savvy social media management, effective communication skills and creative thinking can help you land the job of your dreams. Here are some 21st century success secrets to find work when nothing is working.


Do think like a recruiter

Recruiters hear from dozens, sometimes hundreds of applicants for every job opening. Their time is a precious commodity. In fact, a recent study of recruiters found that they are so busy that an initial scan of a resume by a recruiter averages only 6 second. Recruiters want to quickly find applicant with all of the required skills, education and experience. They almost always weed out resumes that don’t show a logical progression and steady growth. They also want to see longevity. Their goal is to narrow the field to a few qualified candidates for each opportunity. Don’t give them a reason to bypass your resume because of oversights and errors.

Do connect and conquer through networking

Whether you attend face-to-face networking events or connect through LinkedIn, the secret is to successful networking is to cast a wide net and offer your assistance to others. Networking is not a short term solution to your job search; it’s the key to long term success. The most successful networkers have an unselfish perspective--they look at each connection as an opportunity to do a good deed, to impart knowledge and to offer guidance. Networkers should think of it as a constant mission of giving. Networking is about Karma. It’s about giving and then getting back what you give at some future time. If you help others, help will one day come your way.

Do practice your interview skills

Whether on the phone or in person, it is vital that you are prepared to discuss your accomplishments and work history and be able to convey and display your best attributes. Conduct some preliminary research on the hiring company, department, and even hiring manager. Ask questions and listen. Be sure your body language and eye contact are appropriate. Remember to dress for success and always ask, “what is the next step is in the process?”

Do temp your way to success

The average temporary position lasts 13 weeks, and many opportunities are much longer in duration. Typically, 27% of temp-to-hire jobs turn permanent. Rather than look at the downside to temping, consider this: Temping is a great way to test drive a company before you commit.

Do volunteer to boost your search

If you can’t find a job, perhaps it’s because you lack certain experience and skills, or you don’t have the right connections. It is also possible that you are trying to make a change in your career but can’t seem to be able to make the leap. All of these issues can be addressed by volunteering. Although volunteering does not come with a salary, it can provide valuable experience, enhances your skill base and expands your network of connections. Volunteering also lets you explore new career options and industries.


Do not distribute a one size fits all resume

A stock resume can never address the specific requirements of each job you apply for. Each resume must be unique. The language should mimic that of the published job description because software systems scan your resume for those keywords and if they do not appear in your resume, you will be shut out of the opportunity before a single person ever sees your resume.

Do not wait until you’re out of work to start networking

Networking is like gardening. In order to get a bountiful crop, you must not only plant seeds, you must also nurture your growing plant, as you would your new relationships. You wouldn’t wait for your plants to die to water them, so why would you wait for a career crisis to nurture and grow your own personal network? Tend to your network daily—forge new relationships, share info and connect with those who have a generous spirit and your goals can more effectively be reached.

Do not sabotage your reputation online

Those cheeky posts and New Years Eve photos may not be sending the appropriate message to the recruiters and hiring managers who are checking your social media. What you put out online can hurt or help your job search. A good rule of thumb: Don’t post anything online that you wouldn’t want your grandma to see! Better yet, put some strategy behind your social media; make your images and posts sing your praises. Social media content that underscore your personal values and passion can be very instrumental in building your personal brand online.

Do not rule out unconventional opportunities

Depending on your lifestyle and flexibility, you might look outside of the typical corporate world. There are many NGO (non-government organizations) that hire worldwide, as well as volunteer programs run by the government, such as the Peace Corps. You may even want to consider international professional opportunities aboard cruise ships. These jobs provide valuable personal and professional experiences and enhance capability, skill and marketability in the job market.

Do not allow your frustration to show through

Rather than sulking, find solutions to your job search woes. First, accept the fact that your job search will probably take longer than you expect. Stay busy by getting a part time job or taking classes online. Focus on controlling the things that you can control, using therapeutic tools such as exercise, meditation, coaching or simply adopting an attitude of gratitude. Remember, even a subtle display of frustration can come across in your communication with recruiters and hiring manager. Your state of mind is an important factor in the hiring process. Don’t lose an opportunity by displaying your emotions.

Jumping cartoon

In today’s job market, it’s more important than ever to have both a strategy and an open mind when searching for a new job. Although adopting these tips can be time consuming and may take you out of your comfort zone, they are much more effective than throwing dozens of generic version of your resume into the job market’s abyss.

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Gail Tolstoi-MillerCEO

Gail Tolstoi-Miller, a graduate of NYU, has worked in the recruiting field for more than 15 years. She serves dual CEO roles at Consultnetworx, a consulting firm and Speednetworx, a B2B speed networking event company. Recognized for her innov...

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