Searching for a new job

One of the primary tragedies of a slowdown in our economy is that as money becomes tight companies have to “tighten their belts” financially in order to remain competitive, and in some cases it is necessary in order for them to remain solvent.

All the excess expenditures have to be trimmed and overhead has to be reduced. Nevertheless, many times money cuts in overhead and expenses are not enough. It is at this point that companies generally choose layoffs or downsizing as the next step in an effort to make ends meet. At this point laid-off employees must decide whether to start looking for another job.

If the layoffs are seasonal or temporary, they probably should consider fill-in temporary work until they get called back to work by their employers. However, if the layoff is indefinite or permanent, employees need to begin a new job search.

searching for a new job

To some employees, this is a very frightening experience. They may not have had to look for a job for years, because they felt they had security in their former company. The job market may have changed, technological skills may have become more demanding, and they are probably much older. If this is the case for you, how do you begin looking for a job?

How to start

As you begin your job search, there is no way to guarantee immediate success. It will take a focused and persistent effort on your part. Seeking God’s direction through prayer is the most important thing to do during this time. Attitude will also be very important, and the best way to maintain a good attitude is to keep the big picture in perspective. This will be a time when you can see firsthand whether you really trust God or you just say that you trust God.

Identify your objective

Like a camera lens in focus, your objective should bring a range of compatible job possibilities into view. A clear objective enables you to eliminate jobs that do not match your talents or abilities, and it will help you identify components of jobs that are consistent with your strengths. Categorizing your strengths, weaknesses, abilities, likes, and dislikes will help solidify your objective.

* Based on your strengths and abilities, list the occupations for which you are best suited.

* Describe the ideal company for which you would like to work (mission, work activities, organization, environment, processes, and values).

* List at least five companies that meet your specifications for an ideal company for which to work.

* List at least five companies for which you would not work.

Develop a résumé

Target your résumé to focus on your objective. The résumé needs to communicate quickly, clearly, and accurately your objective, qualifications, experience, and accomplishments. The résumé is generally the first impression of you and is therefore extremely important for any successful job search. If résumés are sent by mail, they should always be accompanied by cover letters. For more detailed information regarding résumés, refer to the article entitled Writing a Résumé.

Develop a reference pool

Compile a list of people who know something about your work ethics, habits, experience, performance, and history. Select people who will feel comfortable speaking positively and specifically about you. These references should be divided into three categories: character references, job performance references (boss or high level colleague in former job), and professional expertise references (clients or competitors).

List several in each group, then contact each one by phone. Discuss your situation with them and ask for their permission to use them as a reference. Refine your list to two references from each category.

Network

The most effective method of finding a new job is through your contacts. These could include family members, friends, business relations, business contacts, and church family. For more information regarding how to network, refer to the article entitled Networking.

Respond to classified advertisements

Although many companies place advertisements in newspapers, Web sites, and elsewhere in their recruiting efforts, you should be aware that only 10 percent to 15 percent of positions available are advertised. For this reason you shouldn’t feel that you have exhausted your job search options just because you might have answered all the classified employment advertisements.

Investigate employment agencies and search firms

Both employment agencies and search firms tend to specialize in certain kinds of jobs, such as engineering, finance, marketing, or research. Employment agencies and search firms represent businesses, not job seekers. In most states, agencies are regulated and are not allowed to charge clients for placement, or they are not allowed to charge until placement. Avoid those who charge an up-front fee. Search firms are contracted to fill specific needs of companies, generally high level positions.

Consider temporary employment

One of the fastest growing business concepts is the temporary employment service. The employer benefits by having someone to fill a need that may or may not become permanent, so many companies will hire temporaries before permanent employees. However, keep in mind that many temporary positions turn into permanent employment if you are a good employee.

Consider consulting/contracting

If you have experience in a particular area and feel confident that you could use that experience and provide a service to companies or businesses, you might want to consider independent contract work or private consulting.

Follow a daily schedule

If you are unemployed, your job search is your work. Set goals and deadlines for carrying out your strategy. Make yourself accountable by using deadlines. Develop a written schedule and spend six to eight hours a day looking for a job. Then when you return home, relax, get a good night’s sleep, and start again the following day.

Conclusion

In addition to supplying our physical needs, work plays a very important role in our spiritual lives (Colossians 3:23-24). Therefore, throughout your job search, you’ll want to be open to God’s leading. It is God’s will for us to work in order to support our families, so let Him direct your steps.

Originally posted 4/12/13.