Job Hunting In Desperate Times

By Stephanie Powers | December 08, 2009 AAA
Job Hunting In Desperate Times

If your job search has droned on longer than you'd imagined, you may feel like you'll take any work you can get. But don't just "settle" for any job just yet! There are some things you can do in order to earn income immediately. (When the dust from a recession settles, there are often many opportunities for portfolio growth - both locally and internationally. Find out more in Profiting In A Post-Recession Economy.)

  • Do What You Can for a Fee
    Be creative and use your skills to earn extra dollars. Install holiday decorations, create hand made greeting cards and sell them to local organizations or sell baked goods within your community. These jobs don't have to be related to your ultimate career goal, but you will be more enthusiastic doing tasks in which you have some expertise, or can accomplish without extra training. The fastest source of pay is often someone you already know who can vouch for your work, so let your network know that you are looking to make a few extra dollars pedaling your famous cakes during the holidays. They will become your best marketers.

  • Think Short-Term as Well as Long-Term
    Organizations commonly hire seasonal workers, but the ongoing recession has prompted more companies to hire temporary contract workers in lieu of permanent staff. In some instances the job may lead to a long-term or recurring contract, and you may decide to continue part-time work as additional income after you have acquired a full time job. In-demand temporary positions include: software developers, wait-staff or bus-person at big holiday parties. There are many resources online that can help you find a temporary contract gig.

  • Attend Holiday Celebrations
    No matter how desperate you believe you are, don't neglect the most effective job hunt strategy: meeting new people. Engage in every opportunity to meet potential employers. Embrace the holiday spirit and network, network, network. Many companies sponsor community outreach programs during the holidays. This is an excellent chance to meet persons within your targeted employer list on an informal, social basis. Volunteer and introduce yourself to workers. There are often local holiday celebrations, many free and open to the public. Go to as many as possible - the more people you meet, the better your opportunity for getting a job.

  • Accept Help
    The U.S. Government has many programs available, all listed on its website. A questionnaire will help determine which programs meet your needs and list local organizations that fit your criteria. Each state is allocated federal tax dollars in support of ongoing programs that offer everything from food and nutrition to career counseling and job training. States and local governments also have programs for the unemployed or underemployed, including training programs and job listings. Once your basic needs are met, you can focus more fully on finding a job.

  • Don't Give Up
    Remember, you are not alone. The national unemployment rate is still 10% as of November, 2009. That's 15.4 million people, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The good news is, job loss is slowing and people are being hired. Stay vigilant and make the most of your down time.

The prolonged recession and increasing joblessness has created an unusual environment work environment. It has become "normal" to have short-term work and multiple gigs to make ends meet. The ability to hustle is the newest core competency. (The misery index measures a combination of unemployment and inflation, but what does it mean for your finances? Find out in The Misery Index: Measuring Your Misfortune.)

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