Local News

How to re-energize a job search

Posted January 27, 2010 8:50 p.m. EST
Updated January 27, 2010 10:29 p.m. EST

— North Carolina’s unemployment rate jumped to a record high of 11.2 percent in December, surpassing the previous high of 11.1 percent, which was set last May.

With the unemployment rate expected to continue climbing, and job growth slow, long-term unemployed people should focus on re-energizing job searches.

“I’ve actually been in the job market for 13 months,” Art Burke said.

Burke used to lead the human resources department for a Triangle pharmaceuticals company. He has 25 years of experience in his field.

“It has been very challenging for me not to just take something for that security of taking something,” Burke said.

Career transition firms, like Career Pro, say the challenge for people facing longer-term unemployment is to focus on productive behavior, such as expanding their network.

Social networking is a great job resource, but career consultants say most sites are not going to build a person's professional image.

“LinkedIn, I see a lot of people asking questions and throwing a lot of connections in, but are they developing the quality relationships that could benefit them for their job search?” said John O'Connor, president of Career Pro Inc.

LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter can be helpful for finding inside contacts and for learning about jobs that may not have been posted yet.

In addition to joining job seekers groups, people should try to mingle with like-minded professionals to build relationships.

“Maybe you should dress and look every day like you're working full-time again, and that helps with the self-image of the search too,” O'Connor said.

When selling yourself to potential employers, focus on the immediate value you can bring.  Also, seek out people to keep you energized and focused.

“My family keeps me energized. My friends keep me energized,” Burke said.

Another smart strategy is to check out the competitors of all of the companies for which you have worked. Studies show companies are more than twice as likely to hire people who have worked for their competitors.