When You Think You’ve ‘Tried Everything’ to Find a New Job, OI Partners Offers Advice

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Nashville — Feb. 25
With more than 11.6 million unemployed people looking for work, many people may be feeling as if they have “tried everything” to find a job.

“This is a time when you need to continually reexamine every component of your job search, and be open to new and different strategies,” said Mark Leathers, chairman of OI Partners, a career counseling and coaching firm with more than 200 locally-owned offices in 27 countries.

“Although this is the toughest time in decades to find a job, people are continuing to become reemployed every day,” Leathers said. “Lack of success may be due to making the same mistakes over and over again, not knowing how to best capitalize on opportunities, and repeatedly using the same approaches without learning or employing new tactics.”

For job seekers who are feeling they have “tried everything” — as well as those who aren’t at that point yet — OI Partners provides the following advice:

  • Customize all your communications to fit each prospective employer. “Not just your cover letters, but your resumes and e-mails must also be customized to showcase your experience that is related to the job opportunity,” Leathers said.
  • Adopt the “75 percent qualified rule.” “Mainly target jobs for which you have at least 75 percent of the stated qualifications, and don’t try to stretch your actual experience too far,” Leathers said. “Many people are wasting their time — and the time of those who screen resumes — by applying to jobs regardless of their actual experience.”
  • Volunteer at hospitals, churches, and other nonprofit groups. “In addition to performing a valuable service for groups that need help in these difficult times, volunteering gives you an opportunity to make networking contacts, keep your skills fresh and try doing new tasks in which you don’t have experience,” Leathers said.
  • Volunteer to serve as a pro bono resource for nonprofit groups.
  • Have as many face-to-face meetings as you can. “Don’t over-rely on online job postings and sending e-mails,” Leathers said.
  • Join groups of other out-of-work people for regular meetings, breakfasts, and get-togethers. “You can exchange networking contacts, receive an outsider’s perspective on your job search efforts, as well as the latest news on who is, or soon may be, hiring,” Leathers said.
  • Learn how to transfer your capabilities and accomplishments to match those of the desired job opportunity.
  • Explore contract work and freelance arrangements.
  • Target industries and companies that may see increased business due to the economic stimulus package. “Construction, building, engineering and ‘green technology’ firms may be among the earliest to see increased business as a result of the stimulus package,” Leathers said. “Concentrate on smaller businesses in these areas, since small businesses are usually the first to hire after a downturn.”
  • Continue to attend trade shows and professional association meetings.
  • Be flexible, nimble and ready to react at a moment’s notice. “Taking 24 hours to respond to an opportunity is an eternity in today’s job market,” Leathers said. “Be prepared to capitalize quickly after learning of an opportunity, or being contacted about one.”
  • Remain open to new and different job search strategies. “People are getting interviews by handing out resumes in business areas, using libraries for research and networking and making the most of class reunions, family and social events,” Leathers said.
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