Thursday, December 04, 2008

How can we help each other (and ourselves) in a down economy?

Most of the time I love my job... but this economy is making it more and more challenging every day!

As a recruiter, I get to help companies find great candidates to fill their open positions as well as helping candidates find better jobs. And the companies pay me for my expertise which provides me with a living. Recruiting is my chosen career and I have over 20 years experience here. My income is just as affected (if not more than some) by the down economy.

The recruiting industry is like a pendulum swinging from high good times (a tight candidate market with more jobs than people) to the middle range (just enough jobs as there are qualified candidates) to the other high side where we are now (companies downsizing and laying off with many people unemployed).

Most of my calls lately are from former candidates who have been downsized or friends of theirs who are out of work. And they are almost all good, skilled, experienced employees. These people would normally be my “most place-able candidates” in a good economy. Some of the resumes I am receiving are absolutely stellar and I want to do everything possible to help them find a job.

So my question to you is… how can we help each other in these uncertain and unstable economic times?

My advice to out of work (or transitional) candidates is generally to join networking groups, go on as many interviews as possible, take this time to improve your resume, use Internet tools like LinkedIn to research companies where you want to work and contact the hiring managers directly to sell yourself to them. I wouldn't recommend going through HR right now as they are otherwise occupied and most likely won't return your calls.

I would also recommend that you volunteer in whatever organization means something to you… whatever you are passionate about; church, civil, school, or social. Keep yourself busy… maybe take some continuing education classes and get that advanced degree you have been thinking about for years. You can also use this time to re-evaluate your career choices and perhaps change fields altogether.

Whatever you do... helping someone else is the best way to help yourself. And you never know… the person you help today may be the exact person in a position to help you later on down the road. Treat everyone with respect and do your absolute best... the pendulum will swing back, I promise! Use the opportunities you have now to affect the lives of others while improving your own at the same time. You won’t be disappointed.