Strategies for kick-starting a stalled job search

  • By Eve Nicholas
  • Wednesday, April 6, 2011 12:01am
  • Business

Question: Try as I might, I am having issues returning to the job market. I am 45 years old and just getting off a long-term injury claim. During the past two years, I have been working toward a degree in the technology field (I have 10 credits left). At this point, I need to work but I keep receivi

ng standard responses saying, “This job has been filled with a more qualified applicant.” Why am I continually overlooked for employment? Am I being discriminated against because of my disability or age? Help. — D.B., Granite Falls

Answer: For information about age and disability discrimination, I urge you to contact a lawyer with expertise in this field. In response to your employment question, I can tell you that many professionals feel frustrated by longer-than-expected job searches. Don’t let the timeline discourage you. And don’t waste another minute harping on job opportunities that have passed you by. Let them go.

Now, give yourself a pat on the back. You have come a long way. Nearly completed a two-year degree. Launched a job hunt from scratch. Plus, you are savvy enough to ask for help with a stalled job search. Here are a few tips to help you kick open a few doors in a competitive job market:

Network like a pro. Job hunting is about people. In order to land a job, you need to meet the person with the authority to hire you and the desire to pay for your time and expertise. The boss. The hiring manager. The human resources director. You need contact this person and begin developing a professional relationship.

How? By expanding the network of people in your life. By telling friends, colleagues, college professors and everyone else about your experience and goals. By putting yourself in situations where you will interact with managers and human resources professionals. Networking takes time, energy and a bit of courage. But the results are clear: The more people you meet, the more doors will open.

Maximize your presentation. If your resumé isn’t receiving the attention it deserves, revise it. If your interview strategy doesn’t lead to second meetings, work on your communication skills and practice discussing your career history and achievements in a new way. Your presentation is important. It’s up to you to show employers who you are and how you will benefit the company.

Change your pursuit. Most job seekers spend their time applying to dozens (or hundreds) of jobs on the Internet. It’s quick and efficient, right? Maybe. But it’s not very effective. And the competition is enormous. Think about it. Most people don’t put a dime’s worth of effort into their careers. They avoid researching businesses, refuse to network and rarely update their resumés. Instead, they sit back in their chairs, read a few online advertisements and — with a few lazy clicks — send their resumés to countless job listings.

There are better, faster ways to land a job. I suggest that you take a more assertive, people-oriented approach. Research local companies. Meet the hard-working people who run businesses in our area. Talk about your goals. Ask for referrals. Your effort will revitalize your job search, build momentum and pave the way to your next position.

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