The Best Chief Technology Officer

Landing Your Dream Job (in the Midst of a Recession)

Landing Your Dream Job (in the Midst of a Recession)

Tired of clichés? Here’s one for you: one door closes, another one opens. Yeah, I bet you’ve heard that one before!

However, I’ll also bet if you’ve taken a serious (if not sober) look at that phrase you would have to admit, it has a lot of truth to it. C’mon all you cynics – think about it. How many times have you felt the door slammed in your face only to find opportunity knock at the very next one you enter?

If you are currently working or looking for work (does that cover the spectrum?) you probably have been flooded with emails in the last year telling you not to pay any attention to all the media hype about the “economy” or the “recession”; and that this is a fabulous time to be re-directing your energies to find a career in a different field, or perfect opportunity to reinvent yourself.

I hope you at least read them and paused to consider this phenomenon, before deleting them. If you’re one of the many who have found themselves “downsized” or “laid off”, and out of work for the past six months to a year (or longer), you probably don’t want to read or listen to any more motivational speeches or ads to start your own home business! After all, everyone can’t get into Internet marketing, right?

My question to you is this: what are you doing about it? Are you still using Monster and Career Builder or Craig’s list and clicking “send” to any one of a hundred job listings that key words have been sending you? Or are you hounding recruiters to find you that really good lead, and pray they get you a few interviews? If so, are you getting the results you want? Do you get an onslaught of emails telling you that your resume is not good enough and you don’t know how to write a really good cover letter?

Well, there may be some truth to the fact that your resume needs a few tweaks and you’re not taking the time or making the effort to write a really good cover letter. (Do you wonder if anyone really reads them?)

Here’s another cliché for you: if you continue to do what you’ve always done you will continue to get what you always got. As the modern definition explains it: doing what you’ve always done and expecting different results is insane!

So how do I land my dream job then, in the midst of a job market glutted with over-qualified, out-of-work professionals willing to sacrifice salary and their egos to inferior positions? There are a couple of ways.

First of all, what is your dream job? Can you describe it? How specifically, and in how much detail? Do you want to work for an employer or company that can downsize you again? Is there a burning desire you have been suppressing for fear of not being successful or lacking the credentials. The truth is a recession is a perfect time to take stock and re-evaluate, make discoveries and tap into an unrealized potential.

It’s the perfect time to go back to school or take a night course and get a different degree or certification. Hire a coach, get into a support group and share ideas. It’s a great time to hone your communication skills and practice the “art” of selling yourself. How does your 30-second commercial sound? Here’s a perfect opportunity to re-connect with people, not to moan and complain, but to ask for suggestions and yes, ask for referrals.

Let’s get back to that “dream” job. Explore what you really like to do. Where do you see yourself doing it? With whom do you see yourself working? The more detail you provide, the clearer you envision yourself doing this the closer you get to achieving your desired outcome. Is there a particular company you have always wanted to work for? Contact a person in a specific department (not HR) related to what you do and ask to meet with them, and offer to volunteer or contribute to a project they are developing. Sound ridiculous? I can hear all the rebuttals – but at the very least you will have done something you never did before which will increase your confidence level for the next interview.

Many people are going into business for themselves right now. Entrepreneurism is flourishing; small business owners are galvanizing and consolidating resources, and planning for the future. The truth is, and this is encouraging, no one knows where the pendulum is going to swing; all bets are off; prognosticators are having a picnic exploring which industries are going to flourish, and which fail.

Why wait? Write a job description for yourself. Write down all your assets, strengths and qualities. List your various skill sets in order of which you do best. Prioritize your needs: is geography important, can you re-locate; is family an essential part of your decision making process? You know, for many, if you were to ask what their dream job is or would be they couldn’t tell you. They have been dutiful employees for so long or cogs in the wheel that it never occurred to them to venture into the creative side of their brains and dream about a job or work that would fulfill, not just provide.

So – get in shape, mentally, and physically – literally. Work out, take a Pilates or yoga class; network, join meet-ups, and most importantly: set a daily schedule. It’s easy to slip into a get-up-late, read the paper, check email, look-at-the-job-boards kind of routine. Fight this like the plague. Write down an hourly schedule which allows for 4 hours of quality, thorough job search. No more! Your brain (and psyche) will need a break. Schedule time for exercise, meditation, reading, and, yes, checking email – but only at select intervals! And remember – write it down! It’s a powerful tool of manifestation. Take the thought or impulse, identify the need, and corresponding action, and write it down: concisely and specifically. And also remember – hiring and getting work is still, even in this techno-savvy universe, a people business. Thank goodness. So your “work” is connecting to as many people in a position to refer you to sources of potential business as conceivable. Be gracious, express gratitude, and follow through with hand-written, snail mailed expressions of thanks. These are remembered.

Finally, think about how you can make yourself indispensable to friends and family, what kinds of things you do to inspire others and make them feel good; then translate that into the workplace and you may never find yourself out of a job ever again!