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Job Search Process: Choice - It’s All In Your Perspective

Thinking beyond your life plan.

You’ve strong working experience.  You’ve always been successful.  Of course you know where to look for your next perfect job.

With that in mind, here is Cautionary Tale I:

It’s February and Laura Davis has been out of work almost six months.  She had a great job in client services for the regional office of a marketing solutions provider.  Laura is a whiz at database marketing.  In the decade she’d been with her firm, both her responsibilities and her stature grew.  She saw hers as a perfect life – a great job and a loving family. 

Unfortunately, the recession hit.  Laura was amongst a later wave of her firm’s lay-offs.  It’s been six months and she’s still looking – for her very same job.  She’s targeted only those firms near her hometown that do exactly the same kind of work.

Fortunately, Laura’s husband has a great job, her children are happy in school and they live close to her extended family.  Laura can’t disrupt all the positives in her life to consider jobs in other parts of the country.  

What can you do when confronted with the limited likelihood of finding a job just like your last, especially when your last job provided personal success and increasing recognition? 

First, take heart.  Recessions and economic downturns do not last forever.  Besides, whatever the job category, good employees are valuable to employers.  On the other hand, today’s economic reality means that opportunities are diminishing in certain job categories.

It has become a 21st century imperative for every facet of our life – the ability to see beyond our plan, to look beyond our expectations.  There are limitless opportunities outside our comfort zone.  Unfortunately, that makes it necessary to look outside our comfort zone. 

Though this advice may seem simplistic, there is substance to each.  Read on:

  • Stay positive.
  • Keep your mind open.
  • Think outside the box.
  • Reality check everything.

Throughout your search, challenge yourself to see beyond the realm of your former employment - it may be limiting you.  It’s easy to do.  Laura wanted to replace her job with another just like it and that kept her from finding employment. 

Instead, review your search goals every week.  Take on the role of a nay-sayer, poking holes in every aspect of your search.  Then, defend your every goal.  You may find that your nay-sayer voice makes some good points.  If so, modify your search goals.  

Positive actions keep your energy and confidence high.  Broaden your network and stay in touch with those in your network.  Write some gratis articles for a related business journal.  Even consider writing a blog related to your professional interests

At the same time, it is your personal responsibility to keep your radar honed to see what other job opportunities are available.  Broaden your vision to consider alternative roles or other business categories.  Accept a different kind of job or a different role.  You might even blog about it.  While you may think this outlandish, consider accepting a very different kind of role.  You might even blog about the experience.  When the economy recovers and opportunities are again available in your preferred business category, you’ll have a terrific story of your recession accomplishments. This kind of inventiveness and flexibility proves your tenacity and willingness to be a player even in the toughest times.  This kind of action differentiates you from the pack.  Hiring managers will look with favor.  Add a section to your resume or the cover letter you send with your resume calling it “how I made the economic downturn work for me,”

How might you find jobs that use your very same skills?  There are many ways to broaden the number of targeted companies.  To begin, consider client or supplier firms, even client prospects.  Then, of course, the real leap is to consider firms outside of the business category.  How do you do that?

Job search today calls for totally outside the box thinking. To initiate fresh thinking, review Setting Strategy and Career Change.

Cautionary Tale II   

John Scott, a semiconductor process technician, has worked about two-thirds of the last five years.  In other words, he worked forty-one of the past sixty months and was unemployed for nineteen of those months. 

John trained at his community college, never imagining that a seemingly futures-driven occupation would face steadily diminishing employment opportunities.  Worse, because there are fewer job opportunities, more people are vying for each job.  It’s especially painful because John was very good at his job and always received superior ratings.  

John is “holding out” for another job through his union; he plans to retire when he’s 55 with his union pension and benefits He’s certain his union will help him get another job at his $24 an hour rate. 

During these same years, John became a master of his favorite hobby – fine furniture making.  His home is furnished with many of his beautiful creations.  John is a bit humble about his hobby.  When family and friends tell him how much they’d love to buy one of his pieces, he just nods.

John is also technically savvy.  He’s the go-to resource for advice on which electronic products to buy and he’s the one everyone asks to set his or her new equipment up.

John’s technical training and his ability to work with fine detail were ideal for his job as a process technician.  His economic skills may not be as strong.  He hasn’t considered that even with the income from unemployment, his earnings have been far less than $24 an hour because he only worked for 41 out of 60 months.

He’s also not looked beyond his original life vision – to retire at 55 with a union pension.  John’s skills in making fine furniture and electronic equipment consultation are valuable.   There are two businesses waiting for the light bulb in John’s head to turn on. Best of all, he’d likely earn far more than the $24 an hour he sought.

There is nothing comfortable about change.  It’s also hard to imagine asking for money for things you already do.  John has two choices, he can:

  • Retool his skills – most likely by returning to school, or,
  • Take advantage of existing skills

The challenge is trying to see possibilities beyond our original plan.  Our personal responsibility in this ever-changing 21st century is to keep our radar operational, seeing all that holds promise.