Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Job-hunting tactics for this recession

WASHINGTON (4/15/09)--The federal government recently announced that the national unemployment rate was the highest in 25 years (U.S. Department of Labor April 3). The 8.5% rate for March means that two million workers have lost their jobs since New Year's Day.

Worse, these losses come after the disappearance of three million jobs last year.

Although the numbers suggest that it's not exactly a good time to be looking for work, job seekers have an advantage not widely available to previous generations of job seekers. Here, courtesy of the Credit Union National Association's Center for Personal Finance, are some job-hunting tactics that take advantage of the best job search tool ever:

Go ahead--advertise yourself online. Sites that allow job-seekers to post searchable resumes are all the rage. They give your "hire me" appeal enormous reach. But the increasing popularity of this approach forces people to go to extremes to stand out--have you shot your "hire me" video yet? By all means, post your resume on as many serious sites as you can. However, that's only a small part of the Internet's value to the unemployed.

Reach out online. Many job openings are not advertised. Using personal and professional contacts has always been important for job seekers. Now the Web makes it easy to reach out to any and everyone you know--and through them, their contacts as well--through online social networks. Announce that you're looking for work and ask them to tell you about any openings that might be a match for your background and skills. Each online group you join will increase the potential flow of job alerts.

Research online. Stay up to date by following your industry's news online daily. Explore the websites of companies you're interested in for information to strengthen your applications. Anything that tells you about prospective employers' product and service lines, competition, and announced plans can help you customize your resume and tailor your cover letter to individual job openings. And when you do get an interview, your research will allow you to talk about your potential value in specific and concrete terms.

Remember, prospective employers are not looking to help you out. They're looking to help their companies. Your best sales pitch will connect the dots between your skills and experience and a company's goals, making your hire seem like a good investment. Use the Internet to locate job openings, sharpen your applications, and dazzle interviewers with your command of an employer's current needs and your ability to fulfill them.

For more information, read "Unique Job Benefits Help Employees, Employers" in Home & Family Finance Resource Center.

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