Catherine's Career Corner
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December 29th, 2008
6 Keys to Success in 2009 for Job Seekers

In light of the troubling economic climate and tightening job market, these are the 6 things that job-seekers must do in order to be successful in landing a good job in 2009:

1. Exhaust All Options

If you are looking for work, tell everyone you know about the type of position you are looking for, network offline, online and at job events, go on informational interviews, go to an agency, work with a recruiting firm, take on temporary work or assignments, and be very flexible when meeting with prospective employers.

When developing your cover letter and CV, showcase your skills, quantify the value of your contributions to previous employers, including how you helped cut costs, reduce bottlenecks, inefficiencies or improve profitability. There are opportunities available, but you will need to find them and cannot afford to leave even one stone unturned.

2. Network With Smarts

You must build and strengthen your network offline and online — ideally before it’s needed. Find networking events to go find other like-minded individuals and connectors. Build your online presence through your social networks and be an active participant in the community. And remember to give more than take — share your knowledge, help others be better, and invest time in building strong, long-lasting relationships. These are the relationships that could turn into future job leads. Remember, do not put out negative comments about5 past employers or about yourself, keep things professional.

3. Flexibility Is Key

Stay open to opportunities in new or related industries, companies of a different size, or in a different location; and be aware that with the advent of technology, a new location just may be your home office.

Be very flexible, unless you are not in a hurry to land a job. You may or may not have to travel a bit more, take a different title, or give up some of the perks you’ve had in the past to assume your new role. All things being equal, if you’re flexible around these topics you’re chances of getting hired increase considerably.

4. Diversify and Listen

Be ready to diversify the ways in which you communicate your experiences AND listen well. First, make a laundry list, just for yourself, of all the projects, contributions, ideas, etc., from your last three positions. This is what’s not on your CV. It jogs your memory about how you have differentiated yourself. You’ll recall and distil examples of your success, and you’ll be ready for more questions.

Second, listen closely to what the recruiter and/or hiring manager is asking you. They are looking for something very particular, whether the opportunity is leadership or entry-level. Walking someone through your CV or citing examples that they’re not seeking could hinder your ability to seem specific to their job. You want to be very clear about your transferable skills and your willingness to adapt to their environment.

5. Tailor Your CV

The most important thing that you must do in 2009 to be successful is to diversify the content of your CVs based on the roles that you are applying for. Do not use one CV for all – be sure to tailor your CV. For example, if you have worked in the past as a Publishing Editor, and also obtained project management skills along the way. A CV that is oriented strongly toward being a Publishing Editor has only a slight chance of being considered for a project-manager position.

To increase your chances at success, you should shape your CV to reflect relevant matching skills with the job posting(s) you are applying to. By doing so, a recruiter and/or hiring manager will more easily understand how your past experiences apply to the posted role? This method increases the chance of being considered a strong candidate, receiving an interview, and, ultimately, a new position.

6. Be Positive

A successful job search is a matter of attitude. A positive attitude is the cause of a successful job search, not the result. It’s just common sense that the more negative you are about your own abilities, your job prospects, the companies you apply to work for, and life in general, the less likely you are to land a job. Employers want people who believe in themselves and their skills, who want to work, who want to work for them, and who generally have a positive attitude. If you are not, nobody will be positive for you.


Catherine Adenle
Founder, Catherine's Career Corner. The career site empowering and inspiring ambitious candidates of all ages and professions to thrive and work smarter on their careers. Gladly helping all career-minded people worldwide to explore their career, manage change and understand how new technologies are changing and enhancing the future of work.
Catherine Adenle
Catherine Adenle

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