A Prescription for the Unemployed

Even with the super-low unemployment rates, finding well paying work in the industry of your choice can be a challenge, especially if your CV doesn’t exactly match up with what a crusty hiring manager is looking for. Now, don’t let that discourage you, because his crustyness has nothing to do with you, but everything to do with the pressure he feels.

As one “unemployed” here is my prescription for what to do until you have that full-time, “best effort,” exempt from overtime job that you (and I) are looking for: Take 20 hours of RCI (Research, Contact, Invest) and 20+ of other work. These three, when taken together, will certainly produce an excellent outcome and give you confidence and faith during your search.

Research:

This is where you are searching for companies in your geographic areas or industries of choice. Keep in mind that the more specific you are to a geography, the more general your job type and the flexibility of a hiring manger is going to be. So, if you want to stay and live in a small town or city, don’t complain if you end up working at the hardware store even if you would be an excellent materials test engineer. Likewise, if you want to do something super specific, for example a professor of medieval philosophy, you will likely have no choice over your geography. In addition, the larger the labor market means the more selection employers will have and the more work you will have to do in order to earn a more “livable” wage. Spend one third of your time researching companies and contacts.

Contact:

Simply put, you need community and relationships. I recommend treating the job search a lot like a sales job. I don’t know what the exact filter is, but here is a proposal for what to do with a contact you have researched.

  • 50 contacts a week…leads to:
  • 10 correspondences…leads to:
  • 2 interview (one informational / one job related)…leads to:
  • 1 possible job lead.

It is VITAL to keep score here. This is where you will challenge yourself to hit a number and trust the process, building confidence and hastening your job!

Keep in mind that your objective in contacting someone is to offer to be of help to them and show them how you can make them into heroes, not make yourself a hero.

Invest:

Investing is all about learning, participating, developing yourself, reading, etc. This is vital work for you to do. You must be reading books in your industry and current magazines / blogs. Polish your resume, polish your online presence, and spend some time writing your own personal blog (like I am doing now)! After  year of blogging, you will be a much better blogger and professional than you ever imagined. Also, this is a good time to look at additional education you might want. If you have an irrelevant degree from a great school, consider a solid marketing certificate. Certificates are way easier than masters degrees, way cheaper, and help shine up your degree in a big way. They might seem expensive on the front end, but if you show the comparative cost with an MBA, this is a bit like finding antique gold at a garage sale.