Human Interest

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Web Tips to Help You Combat the Recession

July 17, 2009 07:00 AM
by Shannon Firth
According to a Pew study, two-thirds of American adults are looking online for advice on “recession-induced personal economic issues.” Here's how you can stay afloat using the Web.

Go Online, Get Free Career Advice

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Making cost comparisons for products and services, gaining insight into the nation’s economic problems and searching for new jobs topped the list of “recession-related activities” that are keeping Americans busy on the Web, noted John S. Tilak for Reuters.

With a record unemployment rate of 9.5 reported in June—the highest in 26 years—the recent Pew study results are unsurprising. Lee Rainie, co-author of the report, told Reuters, “People are anxious … They are more information-hungry than in normal times.”

Naturally, people are searching for advice to both better understand and improve their situations. And why pay for career advice from an expert, when with a little research you can get it for free. Quintessential Careers fatures insights from several career advisors on both finding and keeping a job.

When things are difficult at work people tend to react by shrinking from sight, notes certified career counselor Sharon DeLay. And if you’re asked to learn a new skill or take a class, be enthusiastic. DeLay reminds employees, “Stay flexible.” Employers appreciate open-mindedness especially in a stressful atmosphere, she told Quintessential Careers.

And when networking, E. Chandlee Bryan, a professional resume writer and career counselor, recommends, “Ask not what others can do for you, but what you can do for them. This spirit of reciprocity can help you be ‘top of mind’ when your skills are needed.”
Another career advice site, Sixwise.com, offers advice for recovering from a layoff. A consistent problem for those who have been laid off is that they inherit a “fear of failing.” SixWise advises, “[L]et go of your negative thoughts and instead focus on all you have to offer.”

It’s also important to remain active. Sixwise.com cautions against sleeping in; instead the site suggests taking a morning walk or stretching and then sitting down to update your resume. FindingDulcinea reminds, “Don’t waste anyone’s time—get right to the good stuff.”

Be diligent. Consider joining a professional organization or taking a class. You’ll both expand your network and gain new knowledge at once. And when you get the critical interview you’ve been waiting for, remember to be polite to everyone you meet.

Peggy Isaacson, a human resources management and staff trainer told the Orlando Sentinel of a company in Massachusetts where job candidates often encountered an older man wearing slippers and a shabby sweater in the office. Some candidates were kind to him, while others ignored him.

Isaacson said, “The candidates who blew him off goofed—he was the retired chairman of the board of the company. … And yes, he did let HR know which of the waiting-room candidates he thought ought to be hired.”

Using social media in your job search; Creating a Linked In profile

“It’s a basic truth that you can gain fast access to many more people by using the Web,” noted The Way To Work columnist Rachel Balik. Joining and actively participating on sites like LinkedIn gives you an edge that other jobseekers might not have.

Paul DeBettignies, managing partner of Nerd Search, created “the fastest LinkedIn presentation you have ever seen.” DeBettignies suggests making your profile stand out with a tight “30-second elevator pitch,” including keywords and a catchy headline. When you’ve completed your profile, he says, “Ask yourself, would you want to connect with you?”

And don’t underestimate Facebook, warned Kim Shepherd, CEO of Decision Toolbox, a California-based recruitment company. Shepherd reported to Quintessential Careers that the site is gaining strength among “mid-career professionals”; adults between the ages of 26 and 44 comprise its “fastest growing” demographic.

In March 2008, a survey from the National Association of Colleges and Employers validated social networking sites as job-hunting venues. Marilyn Mackes, the group’s executive director, told The New York Times, “more than half [of employers] use the sites to network with potential candidates.”

Steve Biegel, the creative director of a Manhattan Advertising Firm, confirmed the trend. “My partner and I are constantly on these sites mingling with prospective clients or people we can hire for our company,” said Biegel.

Stephen Kohnle, writing for BusinessWeek, opines, “In today’s competitive job market, it will be the resourceful and self-motivated participant in social media that will find the perfect job.”

Reference: Career Transitions

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