Five Things You Must Do to Get Hired in 2009

Focus, Not Fear

I know it’s hard to set your fears of foreclosure, debt and financial ruin aside, but for the sake of your job hunt, you must.  That’s the only way you will be able to focus your energy and time on finding a new job.  When we are desperate we tend to run around grasping at a million straws.  With fewer resources, fewer jobs and more competition, we don’t have that luxury now.  Focus on the task at hand: Focus on one or two types of jobs (max), then prepare for the hunt.

Resume: The Series

By now, everyone has cobbled together something that functions as a resume.  Next step is to tailor that resume to the jobs that you want.  Since most of us are looking for at least two types of jobs–a dream job and a workable job–it makes sense that we have at least two editions of our resumes.  Yes, you have only one work history, but there are many ways to present that experience such that recruiters or employers take note of how your experience might benefit them in the position for which you are applying.  Draw the recruiter/employer’s eye by creating a “Relevant Work Experience” section, and finding ways to highlight relevant projects, education or accomplishments.  For instance, if you’ve spent the last 10 years as a recruiter and now want to become a financial planner, you might highlight your sales experience, your extensive list of contacts and your ability to maintain lasting relationships with people and organizations.

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Networking: Take 80,117

I’m as tired of saying it as you are of hearing it, but I can’t stop.  Networking is the single most reliable way to find a new job.  It’s better than simply blasting resumes into cyberspace.  It provides you an opportunity to make an impression and build a relationship that may get your resume to the top of the pile or get you the job outright.  Networking’s gotten a lot more complicated due to the fact that everybody’s doing it and everybody’s doing it in the same places and ways (LinkedIn, Facebook, meetups).  Now, you’ve got to become a bit of a maven or master networker to out-manuever your 10 million fellow jobseekers.  To save yourself time, money and that pain you get in your face when you’re tired of fake-smiling, break out your iCal and plot out a plan.

Freelance It Till You Make It

Freelancing–being a solo contractor/small business owner–is not for everyone.  It’s hard work and it requires that you have business skills (marketing, management, accounting, etc.), in addition to your real area of expertise (assuming it’s not business).  That said, freelancing is a great way to stay current in your current career field or break into a new one.  And, since recruiters/employers prefer to hire people who are currently employed, freelancing is an excellent way to stay employed and thereby more desirable.  There are plenty of websites willing to help you tip-toe into the world of freelancing, so jump right in.

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Keep a Finger in the Wind

Now more than ever, it’s important that you keep abreast of what’s happening in your industry, your field, your local job market.  That means watching the news, paying attention to local trends, keeping an eye on your mayor or governor’s pet projects, even listening to family members complain about their jobs.  The more you know, the more opportunity you have to adjust your job-hunting strategy or seize a hot opportunity.

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