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 Reevaluating Your Job Search

By Joe Stein

 
There are often points in a person’s Job Search when one should stop and reflect on whether a change in approach is needed.   If success has been out of reach in your job search, then you can either continue with what you’re doing, or change tactics in an effort to change the path you currently are on.
 
This is especially true in today’s economy, where many have found themselves out of work for an extended period of time. If this is your situation, it may be the time to review closely your job search and strategy to determine if this is still the course of action you should take.
 
In some frustrating news for job seekers, a recent study by the John J. Heldrich Center for Workforce Development at Rutgers revealed that just 7 percent of those who lost jobs after the financial crisis have returned to or exceeded their previous financial position and maintained their lifestyles. In an even more pessimistic viewpoint, about 15 percent say the reduction in their incomes has been drastic and will probably be permanent.
 
This reality faced by many who are job searching should cause pause and some thought whether to continue searching for a position at the same level (or greater) or whether it would make more sense to begin seeking a position at a decreased level. 
 
If you do decide to start looking at positions with a lower title, salary, and/or benefits, then you should determine whether this strategy will be short-term or long-term. In the short-term, you may seek a “transitional” job (this is often from a temporary agency), or it can just be a position you find on your own at a lower level. By doing this, you continue to work while maintaining your job search. You will need to make sure that your continued search does not interfere with your job. You will need to decide how much you share with the prospective “transitional” employer regarding your intentions. Sometimes, you may even find that the “transitional” job results in finding a higher level position with the company. I know of a person with an Engineering background who had been long-term unemployed. This person accepted an entry-level position in a manual floor capacity and landed in a position with the Engineering Department prior to years’ end. Sometimes, it just takes being in the right spot with your “foot in the door”, and working hard and effectively to impress people.
 
A long-term decision to seek a lower level employment can be difficult not only financially, but also emotionally. If you have been out an extended period of time, then a realistic review of your skills and education compared to the market is needed. If your skill or experience is in an area where there are fewer opportunities each year, than a change may be in order. You may also just decide to try to wait out this economic situation, but you are really taking a chance if you believe that there will be an upturn in an industry such as manufacturing. This downturn has also been most negatively impactful for those with limited education (High School diploma or less). If you fall into this category, then you may be faced with either seeking additional education or resigning yourself with a lower level role. It goes without question that making a decision to seek a lower position can be a difficult one to accept, but a strong support structure from family and friends can help immensely in this situation.
 
If you do decide to seek a lower position, it will be important not to enter into your search with an attitude that you are “overqualified”. Do not project that the position you are seeking is beneath you because if you do, you are likely to not be offered it. It will be imperative for you to remove the focus off of what you used to make, and place it on why you want the position in front of you.
 
It is also important that you shake off the previous rejections and face this new search with a clean slate approach. A positive attitude will go a long way in convincing a Hiring Manager that you will be right for the position.
 
Unfortunately, for a number of Job Seekers, the end of 2011 means going into next year unemployed, many for the 2nd year in a row. This extended period without regular work and facing the prospect of the expiration of unemployment benefits may cause many to reevaluate their current job seeking strategy. If you are in this position, examine your skills, experience, and education compared to the market in order to determine whether you should continue seeking your current level of position or whether a change is in order.
 
As always, best of luck in your job search!