How to find a job when times are tough

Published September 20th, 2016 - 11:27 GMT
In difficult times, not all companies advertise their vacant positions online or in the media. (File photo)
In difficult times, not all companies advertise their vacant positions online or in the media. (File photo)

Are the daunting shadows of an economic downturn wearing you down and derailing all your best professional efforts? Are you finding that job hunting is a demoralizing and frustrating task during an economic slowdown?

At, we believe it doesn’t really have to be! You can still land a dream job, despite the global credit crisis, waning sentiment and reports of rising unemployment should you decide to get proactive and tune up to more creative and aggressive job hunting techniques.

Tip 1: Acknowledge the feelings of concern, panic or despair that are liable to bombard you from every direction, and be aware that it’s absolutely acceptable to experience such emotions!

Realize that the world has seen darker days and that recessions (despite popular belief) could prove themselves healthy. Brace yourself, and take renewed stock of your most valuable assets (your financials, your credentials, your experience, your contacts etc.) A recent article posted by Forbes columnists Brian S. Wesbury & Robert Stein titled "How We Will End the Recession" states that "when people lose their jobs, it does not mean they lose their ability to be productive. It may take time for them to find a new position that matches their skill set, but as long as they have worthwhile abilities, they will eventually get another chance to produce". In other words, have patience, positive opportunities will soon come your way!

Tip 2: Know where you stand: Read the news (but don’t believe everything you read).

Extensive research is greatly recommended in these situations. Ask yourself: is it only your organization that is suffering (so you can target other jobs within the same industry)? Or is it the whole industry that is suffering? What are the current growth industries? What industries are resisting the slump? Grab the opportunity that is offered to you at this stage to re-assess your career goals and preferences. This might be just the right time for you to make an integral career shift into something you have always wanted to do. Seek career coaching if needed as that will help guide you in the right direction.

Tip 3: Market yourself as the Superstar that you are

Bear in mind that, in difficult times, not all companies advertise their vacant positions online or in the media, thus you should make it a point to visit your targeted companies’ website, call them up, and try to network with people that work there. Now is the time for you to stand out from the crowd: The simple set of skills that you might have might not be sufficient at this time to differentiate you from the abundance of qualified candidates out there. What will differentiate you is your attitude. Foster an attitude of excellence: Show proactivity, persistence, passion and focus on what you can bring to your targeted employer (not the other way around). Be the Superstar that you know you are!

Tip 4: Amplify your networking efforts/ activities

Now is the time to get back in touch with old bosses, friends, colleagues, or acquaintances you’ve met along the way. Also get back in touch with your university alumni support offices! Those have become quite active during the past decade and can, more often than not, supply their graduates with significant information/ assistance when it comes to career news and orientation. Online social networking websites can at last be put into constructive use as well (your Linkedin, Facebook,etc. accounts can turn out to be much more valuable than you thought they were: Use them!)

Tip 5: Formulate an immaculate resume and a killer (and customized) cover letter

This is no longer an option but a necessity. The trick to gaining an interview amongst a large pool of qualified candidates is to personalize both your CV and cover letter to the positions you are applying to. It is not advisable to formulate a standardized cover letter and send it to all your targeted companies. Instead, take the time to shed light on the qualifications that you have and that are required by your targeted companies. Get professional assistance if needed (contact Career Services for more info). This will double up your chances of triumphing over other competing candidates and gaining the chance of an interview. Should you get to the interview phase, remember there is no room for mistakes! Be as informed as can be, demonstrate a great deal of ingenuity and interest and don’t leave before ensuring your interviewer is convinced that he has found the ideal candidate for the job!

Tip 6: Don’t be idle with the follow up

Do not wait around to hear from your target company. Instead, drop your interviewer a thank-you note the same night, and follow up assertively (but don’t overdo it) until you get a final response.

Tip 7: Stay positive and chase away all negative vibes

"If you think something can not occur in your life, then there’s no way you will take the action required to make that goal a reality! Impossibility thinking manifests itself!" -Robin Sharma (one of the world’s most-sought-after leadership and personal success experts) - so refrain from impossibility thinking and shine brightly today! A slowing economy may be just the impetus you needed to redirect your career to a better trajectory!

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