In yesterday’s Sun-Times, Francine Knowles reported on job numbers, which you should think about as little as possible because you are not a statistic or percentage.
What was more valuable in this article were three career management strategies from Challenger, Gray, and Christmas (in quotation marks) to which I am adding some extra advice:
1. “Don’t keep your job search a secret. Let everyone you know that you are looking for a new job”: I would add to this advice that everyone means both personal and professional contacts.
2. “Join new social networks and professional groups”: You should do this whether or not you are looking for a new job. Learning more about your industry will help you navigate career transitions and meet people who can help you get ahead. A client emailed me yesterday to let me know she was recruited for a new job. How did she do this? She kept contact with a mentor and helped that person. Keep this example in mind when you network. Look to help others first. There will be a payoff.
3. “Attend professional and social events with your spouse/partner”: Personal contacts are important. Sometimes they offer a direct path to a new employer. Others times someone you or your partner will know someone who knows someone – 6 degrees of separation. The main reason to go to social events, however, is more basic: it does no good to stay at home and isolate yourself. There is no shame in not having a job in this economy. People understand. Many of them want to help. The only way they will know you need help is if they hear it – from you.
Let me add one more simple “to do”: get business cards and hand them out. People need to know how to contact you. The cards are also a reminder that you are on the market. I will post later this week on how to produce cards that offer more than name, address, and phone number.
Network, network, and network some more.