Putting Fresh Life into Your Job Search

You've done everything you can to get a job. This has included networking with everyone you know, answering want ads, and using the yellow pages and internet. But you're still unemployed after six months of full-time work. Here are ways to breathe fresh life into your search.

Revitalize your job search

- Review your employment goal. Is it compatible with your passion? Are you enthusiastic about it? It's difficult to maintain enthusiasm when you're applying for positions that don't excite you.

Focus on your goal. Continually visualize your desired outcome. Associate with positive, supportive people.

- Study content of classifieds. Does your resume and cover letter use the same keywords listed in the job description? Human resource personnel screen, personally or electronically, candidates with a quick look at resumes and letters. Keywords describing your skills and experience should closely match the company's stated requirements. Include concrete examples of results you achieved.

Ads also tell you about the corporate culture and structure. The phrase, "hands-on manager wanted by start-up company" tells you that the company is new and perhaps small and informal. When responding to this ad, emphasize your flexibility, creativity and willingness to pitch in. The "line manager needed to implement national policies and procedures" suggests a large, bureaucratic environment. For this ad, highlight skills and values that fit this environment.

Don't just skim your occupational section such as accounting, management or social service. Peruse all of the ads to increase your prospects. Matt, a former director of a non-profit social service agency, found his desired position, manager of a nonprofit that builds low-income housing, in the construction section.

Classifieds can also help you identify companies that may be in an active recruitment mode. Although an ad may be directed toward engineers, the company may also need buyers, sales personnel or programmers.

- Look for hidden job leads. A newspaper article or television story describing a new product may suggest positions with a new company or expansion of a larger one.

- Get outside of your industry. Consider growth industries such as high tech. Erin, a journalist, uses his writing skills as a publications manager with a software manufacturing firm.

Also, consider your industry's competitors. Can you show competitors how to vie with your industry? For example, airlines compete with teleconference companies. Why travel if personnel can have less costly teleconference meetings on their own turf?

- Contact small companies. Investigate start-ups in your field or related ones. They want professionals with big corporate backgrounds who can bring depth and expertise.

- Maintain contact with your network. Call everyone who helped you. Remind them that you're still looking.

Also, contact your references to ensure they're still positive. You'll not only find out if anyone has asked for a reference, but you'll also learn if your supervisor has moved or lost her enthusiasm for you.

Ask former colleagues if they've been contacted. Could an associate have said anything negative?

Brainstorm additional alternatives. If you're in a field where the market is tight, talking to industry colleagues may uncover additional leads.

- Explore varied job search avenues. Try executive recruiting firms, temp agencies, college placement offices, trade and professional associations and chambers of commerce.

- Review your attitude and interview techniques. Are you preparing for interviews by researching the company? Can you give a one-minute commercial illustrating how you can contribute to the company's bottom line? Do you believe you'll succeed? Radiate interest and enthusiasm? Answer questions promptly, offering concrete examples?

Send a thank you note within 48 hours after the interview describing what you can offer the company. If you haven't heard from anyone within a month, call. Ask for feedback on your qualifications and interview performance.

- Maintain a healthy lifestyle. Eat well, get appropriate sleep and exercise regularly. Take time for fun and friends. Develop your spiritual self. Focus on your goal. Don't take rejection personally.

Attractive jobs are available. They're created by the mobility of the workforce -- the deaths, retirements and promotions of current employees -- and the growth of new and thriving companies. Companies that can use and pay for your expertise are looking for you!

Questers Dare to Change Your Job and Life, by Dr. Carole Kanchier, offers additional job search tips.