Thursday, February 5, 2009

Job Search Tips for a Tough Economy

A recent article in the New York Times profiled the increasing number of white-collar professionals who are out of work and seeking employment. These are professionals with advanced degrees, and years of work experience in corporate settings, who have faced recent lay-offs and job loss. The CAPS' Blog isn't highlighting these folks to worry you - but some of the techniques that these more experience job seekers are using are also applicable to students who are conducting their first full-time job searches this winter and spring. Here are a few tips from the article:

1. Start Early: it's always been true that the average job search can take up to six months from start to finish. It's not as simple as submitting a few resumes and then waiting for the offers to roll in. This is even more true during these tough economic times. Referring to one of the job search support groups profiled in this article, the NYT states, "...seven of nine members have been out of steady work for six months or longer; the other two are approaching the six-month mark." The bottom line: give yourself enough time to network with alumni and employers and apply for jobs that interest you. If you aren't sure where to start in your search, come into CAPS and develop a strategy with one of our staff members.

2. Keep Track of Your Efforts: The professionals profiles in this article keep serious logs of the number of positions they've applied to, the number of follow-up phone calls they've made and the number of hours they spent searching for positions. You should follow the same model - keep a spreadsheet or a running list of the positions you've applied for and when you submitted your applications. And don't be afraid to follow up, via phone or email. A job search is a lot like taking on another course - you have to put in the time and complete your "homework" day after day.

3. Stay Positive: One of the least desirable qualities that employers look for in a potential employee is a negative attitude. We're not saying it's easy - because we know it's not. When you've applied to position after position and haven't made much progress, it can be hard to continue with your search - but it's also important to focus on what else is going on in your life right now. The article states, "Nevertheless, the group’s sessions are intentionally businesslike and upbeat. Griping and self-pity are discouraged. Meetings begin with members reporting two highlights from their job search — even if they are hard to name — as well as two activities they did besides looking for work." If you can remain upbeat during your search, your positive attitude will shine in interviews and make an impression on potential employers.

4. Ask for Help: This isn't in the NYT article, but it is relevant for University of Chicago students and alumni. Come into CAPS; reach out to your parents' friends; contact alumni who are working in organizations that you're interested in. No man or woman is an island, and the key to a successful job search is talking to as many people as possible and getting your name (and resume) out there. We'll say it again: if you're not sure how to start this process, come into CAPS and meet with a staff member who will help you put together a game plan.

Ready for an appointment with CAPS? Call (773) 702 - 7040 to schedule one.

Comments, ideas, frustrations or suggestions regarding you job search? Post them here.

5 comments:

CuriousGMnky said...

Here's a link to another recent and relevant NYT article about the Importance of the Cover Letter:
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/02/15/jobs/15career.html?_r=1

-Geertrui

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Evan said...

This article is excellent write up and these tips are very helpful and useful for the beginners and job seekers!
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Albina said...

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Alexander said...

Thanks for the Job Search tips provided in the Blog.