Real Life Help: How to Find a Job in a Tough Economy

The economy is sluggish on its eventual bounce back from the recession. While many economists and a lot of politicians are claiming that we are just on the other side of sunshine and rainbows again, many Americans are still feeling the pinch. The hardest area to recover is the job market.

Finding a job in a bad economy can turn into a real-life crisis. While almost 10 percent of the population suffer from unemployment, many more suffer from under employment.

Because of this, job seekers have to be creative and scrappy to find employment. One girl printed her resume on a t-shirt and wore it around town. While that got more press coverage than job offers, it was the right kind of thinking to get you noticed. Here are some other ways to find a job that you might not have thought out.

  • Volunteer. Step outside of yourself and give back to the community. It can be an hour a week or more as needed, but it can help find you direction in your job search. Being continually involved in the community looks good on your resume and it can also open up other job opportunities. Organizations who use volunteers often tend to use that group as a hiring pool. Be a good volunteer and you could find yourself on the short list. Be careful. Nonprofits don’t continually hire (and are often hit hard in bad economies) and it looks tacky if you tell them on your first day that you want it to be paid.
  • Reach out to alumni. College alumnus love to connect with fellow graduates, and it can be a good jumping off point for a job. Most majors will have a connection board. Schedule a meeting with other grads in your field to connect and discuss the industry. This initial meet could turn into something more if you impress. Job opportunities within their organization or other opportunities in the field might be passed your way. Just don’t be over-baring. Saying you want to chat because you need a job can seem a little pushy. You might want to mention you are getting back into the industry and would love some advice from a successful graduate in hopes of future opportunities. Less pushy but still assertive.
  • Networking. The old adage, “it’s not what you know, but who you know” is truer than ever before. Hiring reps are able to be selective and picky, and would rather hire someone who is recommended by someone. Just handing a piece of paper with your qualifications isn’t enough. The best place to network with a lot of people is to attend an industry event. My industry hosts local luncheons once a month. Other industries have similar opportunities. Hit up those frequently and get to know people. But don’t lead with “I need a job.” You will scare off potential contacts.

Searching for a job isn’t easy. But with some creative ideas, gumption and people skills, you can be on your way to a new job in no time.

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