Five Options to Reduce Your Job Search Confusion

Hello and welcome to the end of summer for 2010.

Business man searching
Image by lhuiz via Flickr

Each day there are mixed reviews and messages about the recovery of our economy and the job market. As I listen to the TV reports and read the articles in my local paper and the Wall Street Journal, I get more confused. I feel like I’m riding a roller coaster. One day we’re told that the recovery is slow, but on track. The next day we’re likely to be told that consumer confidence is down, foreclosures are rising, and the equivalent population of a small city has filed new claims for unemployment. The national unemployment rate was 9.6% in August. Even worse, Gallup tracks underemployment—the situation in which people who want full-time are working part-time, are working for less income than normal, or are employed at jobs far below their skill levels. Gallup reports the national underemployment level in August was 18.6%. But you have options that can reduce the confusion and push you forward in finding your next job.

One thing that I’m not confused about is the determination of most people looking for a job. Their job search is based on the foundation of their work ethics, so that they can provide financial support for themselves and their families while building for the future. These are strong people who will eventually come through this crisis even stronger and more determined.

One reason the unemployment rate has fluctuated very little over the last few months is because there is a segment of the unemployed workforce that has simply quit looking for work. There’s another group that plans on waiting to look for work only after their unemployment stops coming. Some may say this is an urban legend, I know it to be true. I feel both sorry for and angry at these people. They are, in fact, doing themselves a disservice. They are actually weakening their ability to sell themselves to future employers.

To those of you who are working hard every day to find a job, I know you will prevail, and you’ll eventually find the job that you really want. But to do so, you may have to look in non-traditional places to find them. Some people have started looking and are considering the following:

  • Go back to school to gain knowledge and new skills so you can enter into a new job occupation. I know, going back to school costs both time and money. Let me ask you this: How much time have you lost to unemployment? As for the cost, there probably have never been more and varied ways to finance an education. Stick to good trade schools and community colleges to keep the costs down.
  • Learn how to apply to the Federal Government so you can widen your options. We’ve blogged on this subject before, The New Growth Industry: The Federal Government, but it bears repeating. The current administration is reversing the trend of decades and growing the government. The government isn’t strictly made up of paper pushers. We know an auto mechanic who went out of business and now fixes mail trucks. I can tell you that the hours and benefits are much better.
  • Investigate how you can “go freelance” and sell your expert skills, such as web design, data entry, administrative support, online marketing, copy writing, etc. Becoming self-employed shows initiative and that you believe your knowledge, skills, and abilities are valuable. Many have tried it as a means of tiding them over to the next job—and never went back,
  • Showcase your new skills and job experience to a former employer who is hiring. Sometimes a second look can help you create or get the job you always wanted. Sometimes a former employer is willing to contract with someone they know can do the job and do it well, rather than try their luck hiring and training someone new and untested.
  • Look for temporary agencies, internships, and/or apprenticeships so you can work your way into a permanent job. These offer a number of different positives: Steady pay, a trial period to see if you both fit each other, and a great way to gain actual experience when you are seeking a career change. And do not discount temporary agencies as a means to find and keep work. Temp agencies are no longer the domain of secretaries and stenographers. Many temp agencies now handle professional placement at major corporations.

People who are working one or more of these alternate angles are finding jobs. Also, they are making connections for future jobs if they are in a temporary or what I call a “bridge job” situation. So think about these possibilities and feel more energized about your job search and career change. It’s up to you, and not anyone else.

You may want to read some blog articles with related topics:

February 26,2010 – The Three Employment Sectors and You

February 12, 2010 –  How Networking Can Lead to Working

November 27, 2009 – Three Market Resources to Boost Competitiveness

Please post your thoughts and comments. Also, if you want to publish this article or print to share, please keep this copyright permission statement with the article. These articles are joyfully shared to help others, but are not to be used for profit or sale to others. Copyright 2009 Bette Novak, LifePath Associates LLC.

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