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Is Job Hunting Getting You Down?

Not a day goes by (and we’re now at about day 400 of “these” days) that we do not hear from candidates about how frustrated they are with their job search. It doesn’t matter if you have just graduated or have 20 years of industry experience; it’s a rough market out there. What is absolutely crucial is that you do not give up. Many people are faced with having to search for a job when opportunities have typically fallen in their lap for the last decade or two. It’s not you – you’re great!

People within our industry are extremely bright – among the smartest in the world, and when you give smart people time, they think. And when thinkers think, they tend to over think – and this is how we get into trouble.

It is important that you constantly review your strategy to ensure that your resume reflects the job, keep your network active, follow-up directly with decision makers, etc. However, be careful not to go too far overboard. We talk to candidates who have changed their resume literally a dozen times or more. These people are driving themselves crazy over very minor revisions (and many times, their “latest” version has come full circle and looks a lot like their first version)!

My message? STOP.

Spend your time and energy on building and using your network, and on hunting down contacts at companies where you would like to work. It’s likely that the problem is not your resume, it’s not that you are a missing a certification, and it’s not that you left out one key word. It is simply that the market is rough. This is not an excuse to lay low and avoid the job market; this is just a reminder that we’re all in the same boat.

Today, it takes more calls, more resume submissions, more follow-up, and more networking to find a position. It’s even likely (we can hope) that it may never be this hard again. But keep at it! Do not let the “market” get you down and don’t rethink everything to death. Formulate a strategy and execute that strategy.

After a while, assess your strategy. If it’s sound, keep going. If not, change it. But no matter what, keep at it. Your next opportunity may be right around the corner.

1 Comment

  1. holly on December 1, 2009 at 2:17 pm

    And start thinking outside the box! I have been a bench scientist for 13+ years in academia and am now faced (for about the 10th time) with an end to my funding. I don’t have a family to take care of, so admittedly I can be pretty flexible. One of my thoughts has always been to volunteer! I did that at my last lab (while still keeping a paid lab job at another institution) and when the technician was headed off to medical school, guess who was offered his position! I stayed for 8 years and during that time earned my MS and PhD…….it only took a few hours of volunteering, over the course of a few months, to get my foot in the door. Also, check other alternatives like the International Professors Project (www.internationalprofs.org) and Scientists Without Borders (www.scientistswithoutborders.org). Also, I know from the environmental side of things, there are ‘virtual’ opportunities where you can volunteer some time, make new contacts, and explore a new field – so my advice is to loosen up your focus a bit, explore alternatives you have never thought about, and be open and positive!!

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