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5 Steps to Land a Job in Tough Times


Job hunting in a down economy can be a challenge, but there are ways to succeed.

1.    Make finding a job your job. It's easy to lose direction when you're not getting up and going to the office. Set your alarm, get dressed, prepare a work space and create a schedule. "Give yourself a written plan with tasks that have measurable goals," says executive career coach Jay Block. "At the end of the week, you can measure how you've done and then adapt the plan to meet your goals."
2.    Stay in the money. If you don't have a paycheck, money will get tight, and it may take some time to find a permanent job. Do everything you can to keep the income coming and expenses low. If you don’t have one already, make sure you create a budget to get a better idea of where money is being spent.
§         Apply for unemployment benefits (check the Department of Labor's website for the link to your state).
§         Cut unnecessary expenses. While you've probably gotten used to cable television, you can live without it for a while.
§         Apply for part-time work, including retail or convenience stores. Offer to baby-sit, clean up a neighbor's yard or wash cars.
§         For the short-term, conserve cash by paying minimums on bills or contact your creditors for a more manageable payment plan.
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3.      Broaden your horizons. If you haven't found success in your industry, see how your skills could transfer to a new industry. Make a list of your talents — even those you didn't use at your latest job, and use websites such as the Department of Labor's O*NET OnLine to match your skills to different careers. Once you identify how your skills could be reapplied, identify the companies that can use your skill set, says Conrad Taylor of the National Association of Personnel Services. Search online and learn about the company, then tailor your resume to that firm.
4.      Form a support group. Conduct an interview clinic with other unemployed people. You can find your new colleagues by posting fliers at the unemployment office, the grocery store or your place of worship. Meet regularly and conduct mock interviews so you can keep your skills fresh. You can discuss your successes and failures with people who share your current situation.
5.  Get the word out. Networking is the key to a successful job search and there have never been so many ways to extend your reach as there are now.
§         Maintain an online presence. Create profiles on popular job websites, such as Monster,, Yahoo! HotJobs and professional networking sites, such as LinkedIn. Be sure to complete a profile and post your resume so employers can find you if they have a job that matches your skills.
§         Use social media sites like Facebook or even Twitter to remind people in your online networks that you are job hunting.
§         Get involved in professional associations. A simple Internet search with your industry and the word "association" should yield results.
§         Check out alumni associations and get on their newsletter lists to keep in touch with old classmates.
§         Do volunteer work where your skills can be observed. For example, show your organizational skills by arranging a toy drive or show your writing skills by offering newsletter services to local charities. 

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posted 9/29/2009


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