Five Ways to Revitalize Your Search

Five Ways to Revitalize Your Search. According to the U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics, 19.3 percent of full-time workers were unemployed for 27 weeks or more in 2006. If you have been looking for a job for a while, there's a good chance you're frustrated with your inability to find one. The longer you're on the job hunt, the more likely it seems that you won't ever be employed.

But the job market remains strong for highly skilled professionals, and with the right approach, you can significantly increase your chances of landing the position you seek. Here are five ways to fend off the frustration and revitalize your job search:

1. Revisit old possibilities.

It's likely that you sent out a flurry of résumés in the early part of your search and received responses from or even interviewed with a few hiring managers. Even though you weren't offered a job, that doesn't mean these businesses aren't interested in hiring you now, especially if you reached the later stages of the interview process. So consider reaching out to the firms you initially contacted to express your continued interest in working there and to find out if any new openings exist.

2. Broaden your network.

One of the best ways to find a job is through people you know because résumés from referrals often receive top billing among hiring managers. If you've been networking through friends and family and still haven't found work, it's time to expand your list of contacts. Talk to former co-workers and managers, college alumni and members of professional organizations you belong to. Or schedule informational interviews at businesses you're interested in so you have a contact when a job opens up. Remember that it never hurts to get back in touch with people you've already spoken with, either to let them know you're still looking for a job or to better specify what sort of position you hope to find.

3. Determine your weak points and strengthen them.

Instead of making small changes in multiple areas of your job search, it's better to step back and take a look at the search from a broader perspective. Chances are, altering one aspect of your search, based on where you're having the most problems, can have a big impact on your success with employers.

For example, say you've gone on several interviews and have even been called back for additional meetings with some companies. But you still haven't received any offers. The problem may lie solely with your interview skills after all, your résumé and cover letter are drawing heavy interest from employers. So instead of trying to "fix" something that's in good working order your application materials devote extra attention to your interview skills. You might review questions you've been asked by hiring managers thus far and practice your responses with a friend who can critique you.

4. Take classes or workshops.

It's never a bad idea to improve your skill set. You can take a class and build capabilities in new area. Or maybe you've noticed a skill requirement you don't have that keeps popping up on the job descriptions that interest you. For example, if you're an editor or writer, and the jobs you apply for frequently require "basic HTML proficiency," your lack of knowledge in this area could prevent you from landing a new position. Taking classes, either online or at a local university, or even working with a friend who knows this programming language, can help you get up to speed and improve your marketability. Just make sure to update your résumé upon learning a new skill or strengthening your proficiency in a certain area.

5. Take a temporary job.

While you're probably searching for a full-time job, it might be worth considering working as a temporary professional. Not only can temporary jobs help you build new skills, you also will be able to meet people who could serve as valuable contacts down the road. And a temporary engagement may very well lead to a full-time position. In a Robert Half International survey, nearly one-in-four executives said the most important benefit of using temporary workers is to evaluate a prospective employee before making a full-time job offer.

Whatever you do to jump-start your job search, be sure to give thought to all employment opportunities that come your way, even those that don't seem promising at first. For example, a position that does not offer the starting pay you had hoped for might provide other benefits, such as the ability to quickly advance within the organization. You never know what will lead you to your next job, but remaining motivated and marketable will help you find it eventually. ( )

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