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Searching For Jobs When Times Are Hard, How To Make Yourself Stand Out

7.7 million Americans were unemployed at the end of 2007, according to the Department of Labor. Out of these 7.7 million people, and with a questionable economic forecast, how are you going to make yourself stand out and get the job? With a few tips, you may find yourself with more options that you think.
In a challenging economic environment, the most important tip for job seekers is to use your network. With less jobs and more competition, any edge up is going to be useful. When you invest time in relationships with colleagues through professional associations, alumni groups, friends, family or church groups, you may find out about an opening before the general public.
Another tip for job seekers that is under-utilized is making phone calls to companies. If you know there is an opening or think they are going to hiring soon, do what you can to get on the phone with the hiring manager, or that person's supervisor. This may take a little digging to find out who the right person is to contact, but your initiative could be rewarded with an interview. For example, if someone in your alumni club mentions to you that XYZ, Co. just got a new contract and will need to add staff. Call the new project lead and ask for an interview.
When you are actively job seeking, staying organized can be the most important advice. Keep track of your prospects. You will want to have the job announcement, your cover letter, along with notes about the position and company, the names of the interviewers, the status of the interview, and any tasks for follow-up, including a thank you card. Keeping track of this information will help you if you get called back and for networking possibilities. It is important to follow-up with all interviews. While you may have dropped out of the running for the original position, by following up and reminding them of your skills and availability, you may considered for the next position they have available, or agree to pass your name on to others in the company or industry.
Research and preparation can never be minimized when job seeking, but when times are tight, this can help you stand out. Don't go into an interview without a good understanding of the company. Research the services or products and come up with one or two clarifying questions about the company. This will show the interviewer that you are interested in the work they do and are already thinking about how you could contribute. Many companies have web sites that can give you this information quite easily. If you can get a sense for the corporate philosophy, be sure to incorporate this into your answers in the interview. The more you know about the company, the more you can apply your skills directly to the work they do.
Depending on what career section you are looking at, your prospects may not be so bad. Service sector jobs are actually on the increase, to include technical and professional services, food service and health care. Regardless of your field, going forward with these tips and a positive attitude will make a difference to prospective employers.


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