Looking for a job in a jittery market

Last year was a great one for job seekers in Snohomish County. We added 22,500 new positions to the work force — a remarkable growth rate of 9.2 percent.

While the good news involved almost every industry, one field didn’t share the good tidings: the financial services sector.

Thanks to the nation’s subprime mortgage mess, the downturn plagues the entire country and threatens to spill over into other areas as well. If you work for a mortgage company, real estate agency, home builder or related business, don’t wait. Begin your job search right away.

Don’t get me wrong. When I recommend that you get moving your job hunt, I’m not saying that you should go to pieces over the economy, worry about layoffs or jump ship from your present employer. I am saying that today seems like the perfect day to start building a positive, lucrative outcome to this unpredictable situation.

For those of you losing sleep over the state of the financial industry and the stability of your career, I have a better idea. Instead of panicking, put your energy to good use.

Think about the ways that you succeed in your current job. How much revenue do you bring in? How much do you save? Do you make your coworkers and customers smile? Do you draw repeat business with your top-notch service? Have you established new accounts? Did you save money by reusing office supplies, or using efficient work practices?

Now, hunker down in a comfortable chair and brainstorm about all of the industries that might benefit from your personality and expertise. No pressure, just relax and mull over the possibilities in sales, administration, manufacturing and elsewhere.

When something strikes your fancy, look it up on the Internet (or at the library). Perform some focused research to learn about specific companies and jobs that exist in that particular field.

For instance, if you work as a loan officer, seek out positions that require lots of energy, relationship building, consulting and sales. Remember that the sales industry consists of business-to-business (examples include pharmaceutical sales, manufacturing, and food and beverage products) and business-to-consumer markets (check out insurance, automotive, consumer goods and technology). Try not to limit yourself at this stage.

You might consider stepping out of the sales arena and testing your talents in an entirely new field. Have you considered training and development, marketing, or event planning? What about human resources?

When you find a couple of jobs that intrigue you, update your resume and send it directly to the company along with an attention-grabbing cover letter. Use powerful language that highlights your skills, not your industry, like this: “After six years as a results-driven sales professional, I am confident that I will succeed in your manufacturing representative role. I am diligent, loyal and extremely motivated to make an impact in this competitive field.”

If you are affected the financial crunch, it’s essential to kick off your job hunt sooner rather than later. Take a breath. Leave the panic behind. Now, prepare yourself. It’s time to shape your future around a rewarding and stable career.

Send your job search questions to Eve.GetAJob@gmail.com.

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