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  • Diana Schneidman

What to do when your job search is running out of options

It can be really frustrating to look for a job.

In fact, it’s so frustrating that instead of “looking for a job” or worse yet, “being unemployed,” this period of life has been euphemistically renamed as “career transition.”

At this point, you may have been searching for a new opportunity for quite awhile, perhaps even a year or more.

And perhaps you’ve gone at it from many different angles.

You have polished your resume and rewritten it in several different ways. You’ve customized it for each position with a different mission statement and keywords.

You’ve applied for tens or even hundreds of jobs.

You’ve set up an ongoing search on Monster and CareerBuilder and still other sites so you get new postings emailed to you automatically.

You’ve LinkedIn’ed and Facebook’ed and Tweeted and met people for lunch.

You’ve asked friends who are employed to hand-carry your resume to hiring managers at their companies.

You have even tried to access the underground job market by searching out openings that are not yet advertised.

And you get ever more frustrated.

No wonder! The corporate recruiting system is called “the black hole” with good reason. It keeps becoming ever more opaque so that you don’t know what is happening to your resume or how their hiring decision is made. Applicants are rarely informed when a position is filled. You may not even know the identity of companies to which you are applying!

Well, you deserve a break today and I have one in mind for you: step out of your enthusiasm-sucking job-hunt cycle and step into freelancing or consulting.

Becoming a self-employed professional can revitalize your energy, restore your self-confidence and earn you some cash.

Best of all, unlike some yucky temp jobs, you can continue your job search—if you still want to—while also freelancing or consulting.

How do I get these assignments? you may ask.

I suggest the process that worked for me when I started to freelance and consult. Instead of going crazy trying to figure out the perfect niche, I started by going after assignments similar to my last good job. Then I contacted the best prospects—in many cases the largest companies—directly. For me, this translated to picking up the phone and calling.

It takes time and effort. But if you have career skills to offer, the money can be five or even ten times the pay rates at typical retail and temp jobs.

Originally posted 11-15-10


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