Sunday, March 27, 2011

You've Tried and Tried but can't get the Job...

What gives?

You've been hitting the pavement of both the literal and information superhighway for months now. Dozens of resumes, cover letters and perhaps even interviews later, still no job.. So, why is it that you still don't have the job you want?

Right up front, it's important to note no employment adviser can claim to offer a one-size-fits-all explanation for this dilemma. Searching for new and better employment is a task of particulars, variables and specifics that are unique to each candidate. That means your first job in getting your job hunt on track is to step back and look critically, unemotionally and as honestly as you can at your approach.

If you have found yourself getting nowhere in your search, and you have been unemployed or underemployed for far longer than you ever imagined you'd be, here are a few guidelines for reassessing and fine-tuning your approach and identifying problem areas.

First, start by analyzing 'Where am I NOT having success?' There are three main areas to begin this evaluation.

First, make sure you are looking in the right Job Series. Are you applying for jobs that you are qualified for in the first place? Are you applying to agencies that have legitimate openings in those jobs?

Be realistic.

It could be that a particular industry is drying up. You may have an expertise, but that industry is downsizing and consolidating and the number of positions available is shrinking drastically. A lot of the people who are unemployed are really victims of changing industries. Take for example Loan officers. These positions went almost extinct when the housing bubble burst. If the outlook for your specific job or industry is waning, it's time to look for other ways to apply your skill set to industries with brighter projections.

How?

Think out of the box and figure out where your personality type and capabilities will translate well into a newer position. To find a bridge to a new job prospect, look for a closely related profession you can move into. Making such a move requires taking time to learn about the marketplace. Analyze what the up-and-coming industries are and what training you need to break into them. If you're looking for employment in the government, take a look at USAjobs website.

You need to investigate. You need to put on your research hat. You need to go on the Internet. Along with your research, networking is one of the most powerful tools out there for transitioning to a new industry.

Attend professional association meetings. A lot of people prefer to go to the professional associations of their own industry. However, aggressive networkers intent on successfully transforming a career will go to meetings of professionals in industries other than their own. And, in search of new outlets for their skills, successful networkers get involved with church groups, nonprofits, charities and other avenues for volunteerism. These are places where you may well end up rubbing elbows with CEOs, hiring managers and other contacts who can help you move ahead in your job search.

Of course, just meeting such folks isn't enough. You've got to speak up and make your situation known. A suggestion: "I'm looking to improve the quality of my life and move forward professionally . . . would you be willing to invest a few minutes of your time and provide some insight on how I might accomplish this?" You could then also say, "I can see from your success that you understand this process. I would be grateful for any advice you can offer."

The second step in reassessing your job search is to find where your current strategy is faltering. Is it at the resume level? The interview level? How do you know? Either your resume is not getting you the interview or, if you're getting interviews but not getting job offers, which means you're not interviewing well.

Once you've narrowed down the trouble spot, we recommend finding an adviser to help you craft that interview-winning resume or to develop your interviewing skills. If you cannot afford the professional fees associated with advisers or resume writers, there are many helpful books to consult, some of which are written by professional resume writers, including "The Federal Resume Sample Book - 20 Resume Samples." This book includes twenty resume samples, each resume averaging three to four pages, that will show you how best to highlight your work experience. See The Federal Resume Sample Book - 20 Resume Samples [PDF Edition] Information Solutions Inc. (Author) Price: $13.95.

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