Ready for the rebound?

It's certainly not the best time for a job search, but career coach Andrea Kay says you could be doing several things now to propel your career forward when the economy recovers.

"This is not the time to fall into a funk, become a victim and claim that no one is hiring: 'The economy stinks and there's nothing I can do.' This is the time to raise key questions, strategically dream about your future and be more innovative about your career than you've ever been before," Kay says.

I recently spoke to Kay about what people can do to make their job searches more effective. She shared the following advice:

  • Nix the negative thinking. Kay had just come from a meeting with a client in IT who was fielding a job offer, and says the point is that there are positions. "To say there are no jobs is ludicrous. It's not what it was, but it's a really bad belief to hold because you're sabotaging yourself. Get that thinking out of your mind."
  • Plan how you'll approach the job market when the timing is right. Are you unsatisfied with your current position but have decided to wait it out? "If you're sitting tight, this is the time to invest in yourself," Kay says. Sit down and figure out what you do best. What are the top six skills you bring to the table? For example, what makes you a good project manager? Are you good at organizing, prioritizing, analyzing? Break your skills down into very basic concrete verbs.

    "What this does is it helps you articulate in English to other people what you're good at," Kay says. "It also helps you tailor things like your resume and your three-minute commercial to people who don't understand technical language."

  • Think about alternative futures. Kay says you can get ready for when the tide does roll in by considering scenarios that you might fit into.

    "If you're now working for a software developer, what other kinds of industries or companies might you fit into? How would you do in those and what obstacles would you run into?" she asks. This will tell you if you need to update your skills in a certain area.

  • Network, network, network. "A lot of my IT clients are very introverted and they hate talking to people," she says. But networking isn't so much about asking people for a job, but getting their input to help you discover where positions might be and who to talk to. "Develop genuine relationships with people you care about and you like so that when you need them, they can help you," Kay says.

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