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The Downturn / Drought – Tips For Survival

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Even the jungle has seasons. One of those seasons is a period of less rain called a drought or the dry season. We can think of it as the jungle’s downturn.

Recently the US and World economies have had a period of less prosperity or a drought just like a dry season in the jungle. This is a normal part of the cycle. Droughts help weed out the weak so new species can take hold. They also cause animals to adapt or move in search of food. You must adapt in order to survive and here are some tips on how to survive through this “financial drought.” Droughts tend to strengthen the jungle in the long run just like downturns help to weed out outdated companies or workers who need to improve on their skills set.

The strong survive. You must learn to search for opportunities in new ways and employ those strategies by adapting. If you do this, you will end up stronger in the long run and subsequently, be more successful.

When you suspect that you are going to be laid off or when the layoff actually occurs, you must be polite and accept the news with grace and dignity. You do not want to burn any bridges. Ask about your company’s severance package (if they are offering one) before you leave or get the correct contact information for the HR representative who can help you if you have any questions. You should also thank your manager or boss for the opportunity to work for him or her and ask politely if they would be willing to give you a good reference.  Leave, go home and relax. Regroup over the next few days and then start your job search. Do not take months off because you will be sorry if it takes a while to find a new job and you have already taken time off. The average job search takes 2 weeks per ten thousand dollars (so a $50,000 candidate will take about two and a half months to find a job.)

Adapt. Be honest with yourself. Were you laid off or are you having a hard time finding a job because the job that you do is outdated or no longer needed? Do you have older software skills or is your education light compared to what is normally required to do the job that you want? If your answer to these questions is yes, you need to improve your skills to compete in the market.

If you are sending out resume after resume online and are not getting any call backs, you need to adapt the way that you are conducting your search. Be sure your resume is well written. A good resource for this is Ten Easy Steps To a Perfect Resume by Carolyn Thompson available on Amazon.com. You can also have a recruiter or friend read your resume for grammar and ease of understanding. If you know a company has a job and you have not heard back after submitting your resume, call the manager directly and ask if they have seen your resume yet. For example; if you applied for an AP Processor position and you haven’t heard back, call the company and ask to be connected to the AP Manager. When you get them on the phone, ask if they have seen your resume and offer to send it over for their review.  Trust me, this works!

Remember, everything has a time of plenty and times that are lean.  It is natural. By staying strong and adapting, you will come out of the other end stronger and better prepared than you were before.

Webinars on Resume Writing and Job Search Techniques are available at http://www.carolynthompson.net/webinars.htm

Jake Hanson
Senior Associate, CMCS

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