January's employment report was grim, showing just 36,000 jobs added to the economy. And while everyone is blaming the weather for the poor report, the truth is that this recovery, in its early stages, is sluggish at best. In fact, of the 13.9 million Americans who were unemployed last month, about 1.8 million have been without work for at least 99 weeks. That's essentially two years -- and nearly double the number in January 2010.
So, what's a weary job hunter to do? We asked Anita Attridge, career and executive coach with The Five O'Clock Club and she offered these tips.Reinvent Yourself
One of the biggest mistakes people make when job hunting is that they become too attached to who they think they should be. Let it go and try new things, says Attridge. "That may mean expanding your skills and using them in another way." Attridge suggests shifting out of industries that are in "renovation" (such as publishing, for example) and moving into ones that are actually growing, such as health care and education.
Get Off the Couch
Attridge says 80% of jobs are found through networking or direct contact; only 20% are found through job boards and working with a recruiter. "Ironically, what happens is we spend 80% of our time working with recruiters and job boards and only 20% of our time networking!" Attridge says job hunters need to check their pride (and comfort level) at the door and call old contacts. "Don't put limits on yourself about who can you contact; just pick up the phone and reconnect, even if it's been five years." Attridge also suggests you circulate -- participate in professional meetings, do volunteer work and take on short term projects. Key to surviving -- and rebounding? Staying active!
This is true in any market, but especially in a market that's as weak as this one, where we've got about five candidates competing for each job opening (In a healthy market, no more than two people are in competition). "Ask yourself, 'Why would an employer want to hire me versus someone else? What differentiates me from the others?' '' Can you help boost the company's bottom line? Add value in a way on one else can? "Employers want to see results," says Attridge.
Turn Passions Into Profits
Is there something you're good at? Have you identified a niche that is underserved? Consider joining the masses and becoming you're own boss. The number of people who call themselves "self employed" rose by 165,000 to 9.7 million in January--the highest total since May.
Job Hunting in a Weak Economy