Strategize: Job search tips offered for a slow economy

The news of job layoffs and economic woe may lead one to think that it will be impossible to find a job in this market. But you can still find a great job in a poor economy, you just may have to change your strategy a bit to do so.

1. Target your search: Instead of blanket e-mailing your resume or applying for any and all jobs you find, now is the time to sit down and research possibilities that have the best chances for coming to fruition. You also want to explore the jobs you'll be most interested in. Make a list of companies and inquire about jobs even if the company currently does not have any openings.

2. What's in it for them: When jobs are plentiful, you may be able to pick and choose based on what advantages they may offer you. However, in an economic downturn, you should think in lines of what you can offer a company. Explain how you can be an asset and what results you can bring. They'll want to know how you can help their bottom line.

3. Focus on growth or recession -proof tries: A quick Internet search can yield information on what industries are most likely to weather the economic storm and which might struggle. You may want to concentrate on the former, as these companies may be more inclined to hire while other industries are faltering.

4. Results, not sk ills, may sell: It used to be common thinking that a long list of skills and past successes were the key to landing the next dream job. However, today employers are more interested in what results you can bring—most notably, how cost-effective you will be as a new hire. Don't be caught up listing minutiae. List the ways you'll bring results and give solid examples of how you've done it in the past.

5. Don't forget personal touches: There are many people out there looking for jobs. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of unemployed increased by 2.2 million between September 2007 and September 2008. Rather than submitting carboncopy resumes and cover letters, be sure you personalize each to the skills and qualities the company is looking for. Make sure you follow up any interviews with a prompt thank-you note or e-mail.

6. Money talks: As previously mentioned, most companies are looking to save money and be cost-effective in their hiring process. A job applicant who is flexible in his or her salary or benefit requirements, and can also illustrate ways that he or she will be able to further save a company money could be hired above others.

7. Stay positive and flexible: Even if the job market seems dour, remember there are still plenty of jobs out there. If something doesn't come your way immediately, keep looking. Options such as freelancing or doing temporary work could keep you busy and open up new networking contacts as you continue your job search.

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2009-10-01 digital edition

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