Being Realistic in a Job Quest

In case you’ve missed the news, times are not great.  Unemployment is creeping up.  Google’s recent announcement of a layoff post the DoubleClick acquisition has splashed across the nation’s news outlets.

Now, it’s not uncommon for a company to do some housecleaning when a merger or takeover occurs.  The news was that it was Google doing it, the workplace environment that’s taughted as one of the best in the country.

If the financial numbers continue to decline, slow downs in strong businesses will be expected.  When slowdowns happen, cutbacks and layoffs follow. Have you been caught?  Will you be caught? Are you someone looking for another position?

If you are looking, or thinking about it—below are six tips to enhance your job search:

1       Identify what industries are hot, growing and passé

American has evolved from manufacturing to service. Health care, teaching, and security all provide service. 

Half the top jobs are in health care.  Nationally, nursing averages $56,000 a year—in Colorado, it’s higher. With the aging population and alternative health options, home health professionals are booming

A growing population creates teaching opportunities and the field of security has expanded significantly post 9/11.

Energy will continue to be in the news.  With oil over $100 a barrel and gas now marching toward $4 a gallon, careers in oil and gas and alternative energies will offer opportunities and seek out talent.

Green is hot.  Fear always creates opportunity.  Global warming, the breaking of ice shelves, and photos of polar bears looking out to the water (instead of at ice and snow) have fueled research, companies and jobs.

The world is flat—think international.  If you have cultural skills and second (or more) languages that can be transferred to the marketplace, tap into them. Both American and International companies covet workers with second languages and business skills.

2       Don’t be greedy 

Do you homework on salary ranges before you interview.  Because a job paid an amount two years ago doesn’t mean that’s the norm today.  Greed is out—reduce your salary expectations.   Websites like can help with current ranges.  Don’t forget your local papers. 

One of the button pushers for prospective employers is unrealistic salary expectations—dump yours.  Once your foot is in the door and you’ve proven your          worth, you have a better chance in getting an increase.

3       Find out who’s hiring

Do your homework—look closely at related business articles in this publication as well as others the Rocky and the Post.  Do Google searches on names that pop up and see what related articles reveal.  Even if a company is having a rough time, you may have the talent and skills that could fill a void. 

Don’t let your resume pigeon-hole you. Decide what you want to do, then tweak the language on your resume to fit it. Just because you are an engineer doesn’t mean your have to solely look for positions that require an engineering degree.

In your cover letter, include what the company will gain if you were hired; if you were able to determine any problems or challenges it was encountering, how your skills can assist in solving them and what your availability is.           

4       Be flexible 

Your idea job may not be within 50 miles from where you currently live. Today, flexibility needs to surface.  If you are single, moving is easier.  If you have a family, a family powwow is in order.

Don’t Get Stuck.  Let’s face it, not many people want to move, whether it’s across town or to another state.  With the          Internet, let your fingers do the walking—the search engines can deliver information sources in seconds on just about anything you can think of.         

5       Learn to sell yourself

Companies hire people to fill a need—they just don’t go about creating jobs because they like to write payroll checks.  Why are you good at what you do?  What benefit do you bring to them?  What problems can you address with your skills?   

Companies today look for what creates revenue—sometimes it’s in the form of increased sales; and sometimes it’s in the form of eliminating losses.  Which will you do?  Put together a verbal sales presentation of YOU before heading out for any the interview.

If you feel that a job is right for you, ask for it. Try something like, “I feel with my background, I can do a great job for your company; I’m available now, when would you like me to start?”

6       Don’t wait for the phone to ring

Even if the “perfect” job doesn’t surface, do something.  Many companies hire temps, who turn into full-time when the pressure is off.  It’s far more common to hire from within.  A plus for you is that you are on the inside and can determine if you want to work there.

Meanwhile, you can hone what skills you have, as well as acquire under their roofs.  And, you’ll be creating a track record ready to add to your list of skills when the market does improve.

It’s not all rosey out there.  You can, though, do some prep work to put you ahead of a job seeking pack.