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The Resume Debate
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5 Steps

February 10, 2010

5 Steps to Take Today to Speed Your Job Search!

What Labor's January Jobs Report Means to You: The Good, The Bad and the Action to Take Right Now

The U.S. Department of Labor's January 2010 employment report is full of data.  Some good, some bad, some conflicting, some confusing.  A closer look inspires strategies you can implement right now to help you in your job search.  

Good News:  Economists were caught by surprise when the unemployment rate fell from December's 10% to January's 9.7%!

Bad News:  More surprise as a separate survey disputed this decline, reporting that the economy actually lost 20,000 net jobs in January. 

Good News:  Overall, experts believe the rate of job loss is slowing, leading to optimism that, following the deepest recession since the Great Depression, the economy is finally beginning to strengthen. 

Bad News:  Large numbers of jobs were lost in construction, transportation and warehousing, state and local government.  Small companies were limited in their ability to hire due to the difficulty in securing needed loans. 

Good News:  Many people returned to work as hiring picked up in certain industries: 

Health Care added 17,000 jobs. 
Retailing added 42,000 jobs.
Professional and Business Services added 44,000 jobs.
Manufacturing added 11,000 jobs.
Temporary Workers added 52,000 jobs.
Graphic and Web Designers are also in greater demand.

What's more, the Obama administration is working to direct $30 billion toward small business loans.  

Bottom line?  As reported in February 6's New York Times, Wells Fargo Chief Economist John E. Silvia observed: 

"The economy is continuing to improve.  You don't have a boom, but you have an economic recovery. 
It's a positive sign." 

This positive sign calls for positive steps you can take right now to increase the effectiveness of your job search: 

  1. Stay motivated.  Now is not the time to give in to frustration.  The more active you are, the more quickly you will reach your objective: landing the job you want.

  2. Network, network, network.  Staying actively in touch with colleagues, past co-workers, friends and family is still the best way to discover openings before they are advertised and to connect with those who are hiring before other candidates.

  3. Strengthen your Resume.  If your resume is not generating the responses and interviews you want, it's time to try new tactics.  Add a profile to it or spice up the one you have.  Revamp the format so it's easier to skim.  Rewrite your bullet points to emphasize your achievements rather than just your job responsibilities.
  4. Focus your Message.  Your job search is a sales process and you are the product.  To be successful, you must convince your audience that you are what they need, that you deliver benefits that will add genuine value to their organization.  To do this, you must present a clear, concise, focused message in everything you communicate from your resume and cover letter to your interview and follow-up letters.  You should be able to articulate that message in one or two sentences.  It's not easy.  If you need help, see Step #5!
  5. Enlist help.  A fresh pair of eyes never hurts!  This can be as simple as asking for feedback on your resume from a friend or trusted co-worker, who may suggest adding skills and talents you overlooked.  If you haven't benefited from professional guidance, now may be the time to solicit advice from a recruiter, career coach and/or resume expert.

These five steps can help you increase the effectiveness of your job search and the speed with which you reach your goal: your next job!  

Yes, even in light of confusing labor numbers and a challenging economy.  Remember, where there's a job posting, there's an organization hiring.  

Let's make YOU the one they hire!