It may sound totally off the wall, but there is no better time to get the job you really want than in a difficult economy. Why? If you are really focused on something you love, you'll work much harder and put in far more time than you will for just any McJob. Which reminds me of Cha Sa-soon, who took her written drivers test 950 times in Joenju, Korea. That's almost daily for over four years, until she scored the required 60 out of 100 points to qualify her for her license.
It would be great if we could all share Cha Sa-soon's dedication and discipline in our next job search. But unfortunately, dedication is only one part of how to get hired today. That's why I've included four guidelines for getting a job in tough times. For more tips, check out "Get the Job You Want, Even When No One's Hiring" by Ford R. Myers (Wiley, 2009).
-- Don't assume the best get hired. Great skills and experience should be the ticket to your next job, but that isn't always the case. Sometimes the prize goes to the person who markets him- or herself the best or who knows the most people. That's why you've got to be sure that your resume is top-notch, that you put a lot of effort into networking and that when your interview comes along, you are practiced and prepared. You've not only got to be the best candidate; you've got to outwork the rest of the field, too.
-- Always be on the job hunt. Most businesses today run 24/7. Can you afford not to do the same with your career? You've got to keep your eye on the horizon at all times, scanning the landscape for opportunity. Some of you are probably asking, "Who has time to do that?" I'd respond with a simple question: "If you aren't actively managing your career, who is?" View yourself as a temp rather than a lifetime employee. Always be on the lookout for the next opportunity.
-- Network with your enemies. In the old days, most of us stayed away from the competitors. However, who is often in the best position to hire you if you've been laid off? The enemy. The old adage rings true here: "Keep your friends close and your enemies closer."
-- Remember that the first offer is never the best. Recently I talked to a friend in HR. She was hiring a new employee. She made her first offer expecting the candidate to push her for more money. The candidate never did. She not only got the employee cheaper than she thought she'd have to pay, but she actually lost some respect for him. Push back a bit; most employers don't want to hire doormats. They want people with the moxie to hold their ground.
Follow these tips and you'll pass the most important test: You'll get hired for a great new job.
RULES OF THE ROAD -- JOB REALITIES IN TOUGH TIMES, EXECUTIVE SUMMARY:
-- Don't assume the best get hired.
-- Always be on the job hunt.
-- Network with your enemies.
-- Remember that the first offer is never the best.
STATS OF THE WEEK
From New York University
Is Your Stock Rising or Falling? Momentum Matters
A person who rose in status to become the fourth-ranked member of a 10-person team had greater prestige (6.60 vs. 5.24 on a 1 to 9 scale) than if he'd declined to become fourth-ranked.
THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK
"Always be smarter than the people who hire you." -- Lena Horne
(Bob Rosner is a best-selling author and award-winning journalist. For free job and work advice, check out the award-winning workplace911.com. Also check out the revised edition of his Wall Street Journal best-seller, "The Boss's Survival Guide." If you have a question for Bob, contact him via firstname.lastname@example.org.)