Compiled by Katharine Hansen, Ph.D.
Page 2: Advice from career experts on how workers and job-seekers can take proactive stance to improve their jobs and careers, even in tough economic climate.
On this page, tips for excelling in your job, optimizing your resume, polishing your interviewing skills, and making an action plan.
Return to main page of Attacking the Job Market and Workplace Proactively in Tough Times.
Excel in Your Job
Go above and beyond what’s expected of you from your official job description.
- — Shawn Graham, author of
Focus on the core mission of the business that employs you. Many businesses diversify and serve several functions, but usually there’s a central mission that makes money and determines whether the business will succeed or fail. Identify that central function and play a role in it. Identify the skills the business needs for future development of this function and acquire them.
- — Laurence Shatkin, PhD, Senior Product Developer, JIST Publishing
Learn how to listen and be an excellent communicator, including how to handle difficult behavior, and taking personal responsibility for every choice you make.
- , who offers a Communication Cheat Sheet if you
Determine how your strengths contribute to the company goals. If necessary, seek out assignments that leverage your strengths and contribute to the bottom line. Being a valuable member of the team can secure your position during turbulent times.
- — Dan Dugan, Human Resources Manager, Service Corporation International
SHOW DEDICATION! One of the biggest complaints employers have had in the past few years is that people, especially young people, are jumping jobs every year or two. If you’re looking for a job, make sure you focus on pursuing opportunities that you’re genuinely interested in. If you look at a job as a four-letter word, as something you need to do to pay the bills, you’re could be more transparent than you realize. Employers are tightening their hiring budgets and if they’re going to bring new people into their companies, they will want to have some confidence that they’ll not only work out, but stick. If you’re already in a job, make sure that you’re giving it your all, especially in uncertain times. Even consider asking your boss if there’s any other way you can be helpful — even in a different department or function. Be an asset in tough times, and you’re all the more likely to make it though to the good ones.
- , President/Co-founder,
- ; lead author of
Secrets of the Young & Successful: How to Get Everything You Want Without Waiting a Lifetime
Informally ask others ways you can best meet their expectations and what changes would be helpful to them. Be open to hearing their ideas for improvement, and make adjustments. This approach communicates to supervisors and co-workers your openness to change and interest in continually improving your results. These two competencies are especially important in today’s work world.
- — Diane C. Decker, Workplace Consultant, Quality Transitions, Co-author,
First Job Survival Guide: How to Thrive and Advance in Your New Career
Create change. If you want to stay current in your position learn to become a valuable asset don’t wait for it to happen — make it happen. If you’re worried about finding a career, be proactive. Someone is always hiring, and if you want it badly enough, leave your ego at the door.
- — Jeff Ganter, President,
Update and Optimize Your Resume
Is your resume working for you? If you keep doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results, you’re insane or soon will be! This applies to your resume also. If it’s not getting you interviews, change it! What have you got to lose?
- — Drew Sygit, CMPS, CMLO, CALO, MBA,
- Team, Allied Home Mortgage Capital Corp. See more of Sygit’s tips
The hiring market used to look at your whole background and used common sense when looking at your resume. Frequently, the only thing that is done now is to match your last title and company brand. I would advise if you take a part-time job at a convenience store to make ends meet that you not put it on your resume for this reason; it will prevent you from being selected. This reality presented itself when a friend of mine who was a brand manager left a Fortune 500 company to start her own consulting business after a downsizing. Her LinkedIn inquiries went from 10 a month to zero, even though she was willing to listen to the right offer if it came along.
Polish Your Interviewing Skills
Would you hire you? As you begin a job search, start by asking yourself what assets you would bring to a company, even more so, a company facing dire straits. With the hemorrhaging of the current economy and worsening job market, job-seekers must demonstrate their value through effective verbal and non-verbal communication. It is also vital that they use technology and techniques that represent the future and not the past.
- — Randy Bitting, co-founder of
Make a Plan
Create a strategic self-marketing plan. Don’t rely solely on any one job-search method. Instead, create a multi-faceted plan that effectively taps into both the published and published markets. Creating a systemized plan with daily, weekly, and monthly goals allows job-seekers to measure progress and make required adjustments. Following a systemized process also helps to reduce overwhelm and anxiety. The job hunter knows what his/her goals are and can systematically move forward with them.
- — Roxanne Ravenel, Job Search Consultant,
Develop a plan that you can activate on day one if your position is eliminated. The plan should include a list of companies and people to contact.
- — Sally Stetson, principal of Salveson Stetson Group
On a whitewater river just before entering a rapid, paddlers need to get centered. Do the same in today’s “permanent whitewater” environment. Consider two questions: If I were hired into this job tomorrow, then what would I do? If I were fired from this job, then what would I do? Work from your answers outward.
- — Greg Shea, Ph.D., Wharton adjunct professor of management and co-author,
Assertiveness is critical. In a real sense, we are all sales people hawking our skills. That means if we want to get that offer we have to work very hard starting with the basics: a strategy, solid tools and networking. The key is define what you do best and promote yourself aggressively. You can accomplish this by properly developing a job-search strategy with a well-thought-out personal business plan that clearly outlines the parameters of your next move. Solid definition, backed up with a plan enables you to target and recognize real opportunities. Get in touch with who you are and feel confident about your accomplishments. Project the right amount of self-esteem. I believe that the best lesson is learning how to project self-esteem rather than wait until you feel empowered. We must be ready to seize opportunities.
- — Judit E. Price, MS, IJCTC, CCM, CPRW,
See also these Job-Hunting During a Recession Articles for Job-Seekers.
Katharine Hansen, Ph.D., creative director and associate publisher of Quintessential Careers, is an educator, author, and blogger who provides content for Quintessential Careers, edits QuintZine, an electronic newsletter for jobseekers, and blogs about storytelling in the job search at A Storied Career. Katharine, who earned her PhD in organizational behavior from Union Institute & University, Cincinnati, OH, is author of Dynamic Cover Letters for New Graduates and A Foot in the Door: Networking Your Way into the Hidden Job Market (both published by Ten Speed Press), as well as Top Notch Executive Resumes (Career Press); and with Randall S. Hansen, Ph.D., Dynamic Cover Letters, Write Your Way to a Higher GPA (Ten Speed), and The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Study Skills (Alpha). Visit her personal Website or reach her by e-mail at kathy(at)quintcareers.com. Check out Dr. Hansen on GooglePlus.