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Columns

Job Search Tips for 2009
Text Teri Lindeberg

T
he year 2009 will be an extraordinarily challenging one for all of us here in Russia, and hopes are high that after a very likely slow start, things will pick up and opportunities will begin to present themselves again. Those of us who weathered the 1998 financial crisis and the following depressed period – and in general believe in and understand cycles – are confi dent that what is down will come up. Until then, patience is a virtue we all need to adopt. Post-holidays job seekers should focus on the same.

The most important thing in any job search is to be prepared. Today’s disadvantage for job seekers is that companies will take their time when making hires, ensuring greater success in finding the best person for the available role. Gone for a while are the hiring frenzies in which more risks are taken to increase headcount faster. Resumes, cover letters, interview presentation (communication and appearance), best-practice follow-up, to name a few, should be in near-perfect form for job seekers to compete successfully during these highly competitive times.

Consider what your value proposition is. Whereas in previous job searches you might have been up against 5 to 10 other candidates for a given position, now you might be up against 2 to 20 times that number of competitors. So what makes you special? What can you offer that others cannot? What makes you better and “the one” a hiring company should choose to employ? Think about it, define it, and then practice hypothetically presenting it. Most job seekers don’t think of these things, so if you can define a confi dent value proposition for yourself, you will increase your chances of seeming like, if not actually being, the better candidate for the available role.

Strategize your job search. Create a plan for yourself. What industries do you want to target? Which occupational roles would you fill successfully? Then research which recruitment firms on the market specialize in your profile and which companies you want to focus on. Knowledge is a key to success. Read the news and talk to people. Look for opportunities. The more intelligent your job search is, the more likely you are to succeed at it.

Work hard at it.
Time management is everything. Motivate yourself to get up early and, after a refreshing shower, make a list of what you want to accomplish that day. Then, work until you get everything on your list done. Once you have prepared yourself, determined your value proposition, and planned your job search, start relentlessly making the calls, sending the emails, and making the appointments. By working as hard and as smart as you can, you will increase your chances of finding a new job faster than others.

Be flexible. Understand that the market has changed and what just recently was a “candidates’” market (in which available jobs outnumbered available suitable candidates), now suitable candidates outnumber the amount of available jobs. The bottom line is more important than ever for every company right now. Be prepared that new compensation packages off ered may be lower and performance expectations higher. Focus on getting the job. Then, once in it, focus on outperforming expectations, which will eventually lead to promotions and higher compensation in the future, when the market picks up again.

Remember that it’s a numbers game. The more cover letters and resumes you send to the right people, the more interviews you will likely have. The more interviews you have, the more chances you have at getting an offer. The more offers you have, the greater the odds of your accepting a job you really, truly want.

It is going to be a tough year, but there will be jobs on offer, and there will be opportunities. Prepare yourself well, determine your value proposition, strategize your search, work very hard at it, be flexible, and remember that it’s a numbers game, so keep at it. Be patient. And good luck!

Teri Lindeberg is CEO of Staff well, a recruitment company in Moscow.







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