Written by: Dhianna Yezzi.
Published in Saratoga Business Journal.
Although Saratoga , Warren and Washington County unemployment rates have seemed to stabilize, there are still signs the economic recession that effectively began is 2008 will continue. The good news for job seekers is that employers are still hiring and certain industries will survive and even thrive during hard times.
In fact many of our large employers started during a recession or even The Great Depression. Sports Illustrated magazine was launched on August 16, 1954, at the tail end of a recession. General Electric was started in 1876 in the middle of a six year recession and Hewlett Packard Development Company was born at the end of the Great Depression on a meager $538.00 investment.
Other big business that opened their doors while the economy lagged include Hyatt Corporation, Burger King Corporation, Fed-Ex, CNN and even MTV. Recessions and depressions aren’t just advantageous for start-ups however, currently 12 major corporations including GE, Boeing and DuPont made $173 billion during this recent recession.
What do these and many other big business success stories have to do with the local under employed and unemployed? While it’s often difficult to see the silver lining when subsisting off of savings and applying to endless positions, there is still opportunity out there if you know where to look. Corporations that thrived during economic downturn changed their business operations, diversified, unloaded debt and, most importantly, innovated.
Unfortunately, not everyone has the investments or the opportunity to begin their dream of starting a business but by capitalizing on the opportunities available and becoming innovative, even the long term unemployed can find a stable, fulfilling position. Currently, a majority of those seeking employment are using the same techniques that have been used for years: cover letter, resume, phone call. As of July of 2011, New York State has an 8% unemployment rate. Roughly 756,386 people in New York are unemployed. Whether you are employed, under employed or unemployed, now is the time to shake up your job searching skills. Corporations change and so should you. So take what has worked for successful corporations and apply it to your job search: change your business operations, diversify, unload debt and innovate.
First, change your business operations. Start your job search at the very beginning: review your resume. Change the format, include volunteering, education and anything else that may make you more marketable. Visit www.careerbuilder.com for great advice. Once your resume looks good and 1 or 2 people have proofread it, it’s time to make a concrete strategy and get it to the right hiring manager. Most people handle their job search haphazardly: submitting resumes but not following up, following up but not sending a thank you and, most importantly, not capitalizing on current relationships to expand your search.
Secondly, diversify. After you have reviewed your resume and made any changes, now is the time to make sure that it is getting into as many hands as possible. Utilize social media, get on Linkedin, Facebook, Jigsaw and Twitter. Advertise your job search and post your resume on as many sites as possible. Find as many former colleagues as possible and utilize those connections. If you have the skill and the knowledge, blog about your situation. Norm Elrod of the blog www.joblessandless.com has been seen on The Today Show, NPR and The New York Times discussing his unemployment.
Thirdly, unload debt. Not that kind of debt. Although if you can, try not to live off of your 401K, credit cards or loans while seeking employment. Unload debt by taking stock of your current situation and reconfiguring priorities. If you are unemployed, job searching is now your job and for 8 hours a day that should be your focus. Too many people coast for the first 4 months of unemployment and lose out on a that window of opportunity. Get up each day as if you were going to work; shower, shave and dress as if you had the job of your dreams. Few people find their ideal position in their pajamas. If you are underemployed, you are still at an advantage. Consistently send out resumes and follow up. Allocate a certain amount of time weekly for job searching and stick to it.
Fourthly, innovate. Change is difficult for anyone. It is far easier to stick to the status quo than to implement change. Take advantage of programs offered by New York State, look for groups on www.meetup.org and expand your network. Get out of your comfort zone.
Two full years into the recession, all successful companies have learned to work within the confines of a new economic reality. Companies know that to survive during tough economic times, you must change. The same holds true to the under employed and unemployed. Next month: as the economy continued to falter, many turned to or are considering starting their own businesses . There are numerous benefits to being self-employed, especially in recessionary times such as these. One just needs to know how and when to take advantage of them.