How to find a job in a recession

Thursday, July 23, 2009
Getty Images
Getty Images

You’ve lost your job or you’re worried you might lose it and you need to know how to get another one.

I have a secret method that I used a few years ago when I was first looking for a job. Given the current state of the job market, there’s never been a better time to start testing my secret method.

Step 1: Know thyself
Read the book I Could Do Anything If I Only Knew What It Was by Barbara Sher, in which you may discover that there are unconscious self-sabotaging reasons why you’re confused about the type of job you really want to do. If you already know what you want to do and understand why you want to do this job, you can skip this step.

Step 2: Establish there is a job
Having decided what job you want to do and your reasons for doing it, look at employment advertisements and see what is available in the area you’re interested in. If there aren’t any available, consider what skills you have and think about areas where there are jobs available that need your skills. If there aren’t any, it’s time to re-train.

Step 3: Take the initiative
So now you know what type of job you want and that there are openings available in the market, you need to understand something - at least half of all jobs are not advertised. They are often filled internally or by someone the employer knows.

So how do you find these jobs? Use my secret method. First, write a Top 20 list of the places you would love to work. Then you call these companies and ask to speak to their recruitment department. They will either have a human resources person internally or direct you to an external company.

  • If it is an internal person, they will probably be very impressed that you took the initiative to call them and find out what jobs they have open. And remember, if they pick you, it will save them paying to advertise the job. So, it is in their interests to talk to you.

  • If your potential employer directs you to an external recruitment company, ask which company it is, what they are looking for in the successful applicant for the job you want and, most importantly, if it’s okay if you mention to the recruitment company that you spoke to your potential employer directly. You then call the recruitment company and tell them that you spoke to the potential employer, and that they told you to call the recruitment company. The recruitment company will take you seriously if they know you have been referred by the employer. Plus you already know what they are looking for in a successful applicant, so you’ll be ahead of everyone else from the start.

This secret method has worked successfully for me. Given that there are now fewer jobs to choose from, it makes sense to try and access the 50 per cent of jobs that are not advertised.

Good luck and happy job hunting!

Virginia Graham is a mortgage broker for Model Mortgages.

Your say: Have you had to find a new job due to the recession? Tell us below...

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