We all know 2008 was a devastating year economically for the US. Unfortunately, 2009 looks to be filled with more layoffs and higher unemployment overall with many companies teetering on collapse.
I don't need to tell you the importance of getting your act together as a job seeker sooner than later. Sure, there will be fewer jobs available, but that doesn't mean there won't be opportunities during periods of crisis and chaos.
Compare our economic situation to a large forest fire. We'll see businesses, even entire industries go down in ruins. That's what you'll be hearing about in the news. What you won't hear about are all those companies that are rising up from the ashes like new shoots. As some companies go down, others will rise up in the new economy.
Remember this: There is a place for you in this evolving economy, but only if you start thinking smarter and acting differently.
Here are six resolutions to maximize your chances of scoring a secure paycheck in 2009:
1) Get in the Game:
Forget passivity and become proactive. Stretch yourself, get out of your comfort zone and aggressively search beyond the listed jobs you find on the Internet. This requires a game plan and the expectation that you’re going to win this game. So quit feeling sorry for yourself and decide instead to excel and achieve at your job search.
Do something every day to further your search. Positive action diminishes anxiety and other negative feelings. This goes beyond survival of the fittest. For anyone who wants to succeed, it requires an iron will and determination. You will not be defeated by this job search process. Continually remind yourself that you will prevail and you will outlast this challenge.
2) Lose the Neediness:
Take the words “desperate” and “defeat” out of your vocabulary. When employers sense neediness, the game is over. If you present yourself with a sense of desperation, you’re bringing your anxiety and fears to the table. Rather, focus on what you can do for an employer. Don’t focus on your needs. Instead, focus on what the employer needs, and this leads us to Resolution #3.
3) Think ROI:
Employers don’t hire people to be liabilities on their balance sheets. They hire people to be assets (to provide a Return On Investment) and to solve a problem. To do this, demonstrate clear benefits that you offer them.
Take a look at your skills, experience, abilities and talents. Determine how you can best help the employer either make money or save money. Turn your skills and talents into benefits that an employer understands and appreciates. Pull out examples from your past work experience. Ask yourself, “How did my work save time or money, make money or otherwise improve the overall situation for my employer?”
Education and skills, while valuable, do not translate into benefits. What can you do for this employer that your competitors can’t? You have a unique set of skills, experiences and talents. Turn them into a “Unique Selling Proposition” for the employer.
4) Widen Your Network
In the past it was easier to find work by responding to ads found in the newspaper or on the Internet. That was before the bar was raised. Now it’s foolhardy to limit yourself to ads on the Internet and expect success. Aggressively seek out those 70%-80% of jobs that are not advertised.
Start widening your network both in person and online. Begin by making some new contacts each week through local events or related professional meetings. Online, you can add your bio and profile to LinkedIn™, Spoke™ and even MySpace™, for starters. For those of you who are more aggressive in Web 2.0, consider Twitter.com. It's become an excellent way to follow movers and shakers plus make yourself known to a wider playing field. That said, don’t forget family, friends and neighbors who might know someone. Job search is about connections. The more connections you can make, the higher your chances of success.
5) Be Persistent
Nothing worth having is ever easy to achieve. There is a lot of rejection in job search. Sometimes it seems as if you'll never get a "yes". Remember what good sales people already know. That winning a sale, a job, or any other goal is a numbers game. Commission sales people will tell you that every "no" is one step closer to a "yes". When you can see your process from a more objective viewpoint, knowing that you're one more rejection closer to a "yes", you'll be less inclined to take the "no's" personally, and less likely to get discouraged.
6) Inoculate Yourself Against Negative Messages
Succeeding at a job search is a mental process, and negative input from anywhere can poison your outlook and lead to fear, discouragement, anxiety and other negative emotions. Start by turning off the "noise" from the outside world. That includes the news and the inevitable negative commentary on the airwaves. Associate with positive people and protect yourself from all types of negativity. A job search can be a big undertaking. You need all of the assets and advantages that you can possibly bring to the party. You can't afford to be exposed to the negativity of others, whether it comes from friends, relatives, print media, radio or TV. Read books and articles that motivate, encourage and inspire you. Avoid anything and anyone that doesn't fall into this category.
The job search market will only get tougher and more competitive in 2009. Get an early edge by implementing these six resolutions now to catapult your job search into the fast lane in a tightening job market.