Tuesday, December 7, 2010

EMPLOYMENT: Finding Work During a Recession: Tips and Resources

flicker photo by deanmeyersnet
Finding Work During Recession: Tips & Resources

Andrew Hall is a guest blogger for Pounding the Pavement and a writer on the subject of vocational schools  for the Guide to Career Education

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics for Detroit-Livonia-Dearborn, as of this September, Detroit's unemployment rate is 14.4%. This is down from the summer's even higher rates of 15.7% in August and 16.5% in July, but it's still not good. As a consequence, jobs are scarce, and it may seem completely and totally impossible to get someone to respond to your letters and applications if you've sent dozens (or a hundred, or two hundred) out and received absolutely nothing back.  

However, jobs do exist, and there are ways to find and get them. It's just nowhere near as easy as it should or ought to be. Here are a handful of suggestions to help you along your job search. 

1. Make an Online Portfolio 
Depending on what you do, a website or a blog that showcases your talents may help you find work in your field. For example, if you're an artist and work on a by-commission basis, having an online index of your work alongside contact information and explanations of costs, as well as how you work and what you can be hired for, will make it much easier for a prospective employer to be able to reach you and employ your services. For writers, a portfolio of published pieces may prove just as useful, making it easy for someone checking your resume to realize that you are as useful as your resume says you are. 

2. Get Yourself on Job Databases
Despite what people say about them, I know several people who've found well-paying salaried jobs through databases like Monster, which bring your information to prospective employers actively looking to hire. After submitting your resume you're often not required to provide a mountain of cover letters in order to get your foot in the door (they contact you if they're interested), ultimately saving you time and making this an outlet you should consider, even if you're skeptical, as you can only lose so much from doing so. 

3. Don't Tie Yourself Down to a Single Potential Job
Many people are finding themselves forced to take on new professions in the wake of the job market's collapse over the last two years. I've known a handful who have taken on as many as three or four unrelated jobs over the course of a year, as well as many people who have been forced to switch in order to find any work at all. Keep an open mind and think more in terms of potential than in terms of what you've done now when you apply for things that you think are a stretch, because they might just be your biggest hit.

4. Attend Job Fairs
If you have opportunities to network and meet with people in the industries that interest you, take them. It's harder than ever to get a foot in the door, and face to face meetings will help you do this better than just about anything else you might be thinking of. No matter how qualified you are, meeting a potential employer in person with leave a definite impression and perhaps help you answer the question "would I want to work here?" 

5. Use Your Downtime Wisely 
If you have extra time as a consequence of being presently unemployed, use it to develop skills or work on a craft that may become helpful in a new work situation. Many successful businesses have come out of one door being shut and another unexpectedly opening; don't waste your time and you might see a hugely viable opportunity arise out of a new hobby or project you decide to undertake.

While you're looking, here's list of websites to begin looking for jobs in Michigan that you might not have been considering already:

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