Looking for a job? 2 career coaches offer some tips

job searchIf Diane Crompton and Ellen Sautter lived in an analogy, it would look like an airport. As executive career counselors in Atlanta, they're constantly working with people in transition, coming from one job and hoping to soon land another. Or put another way -- they've just crashed and hope to be soon flying high again.

I interviewed them initially for another WalletPop post, only peripherally related to job searching, and found them full of good ideas, that I thought I'd share what they have to say.

Of course, if you're unemployed and reading this, I doubt that any of this isn't something you haven't heard before. Still, if you feel as if you're stuck in some unemployment airport purgatory, maybe something they say will resonate and help you get to where you want to go.

Don't invest too much time in any way of finding a job.

Only 12 to 15% of job offers come via finding a job at sites like Monster.com and CareerBuilder.com, according to Crompton and Sautter, who are co-authors of Seven Days to Online Networking and career management experts at Right Management, which is a company within the giant employment services company Manpower.

Career recruiting firms are also not finding the jobs that they once were, says Sautter. "We're seeing fewer than 5% of jobs come through recruiters. This is an awful time for them, and many of them are trying to find new careers themselves."

In other words, cast a wide net -- a very, very wide one. Incidentally, both Crompton and Sautter said that anyone reading this should feel free to hook up with them on LinkedIn (Crompton's profile here and Sautter's profile here) or drop them an e-mail (dicrompton at yoursocial mediastrategist.com and ellen.sauter at gmail.com). I figured I'd spell their emails the way I did to avoid any spambot software picking up their e-mails.

Get your name out there on the Internet.
This is more than just telling your friends on Facebook that you need a job, though do that, too. Crompton says that at the very least, "you should have a professional profile on LinkedIn, which may help you be found, without doing anything."

But as Crompton says, "an inner circle of contacts is no longer enough. Your circle has to be an enhanced network of people you don't know well, or don't know at all. What you're looking for is that bridge contact, that person who can increase your chances of being noticed or considered for a job."

LinkedIn, though, isn't enough either. Sautter says that beyond LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter, they're also seeing candidates blogging about their industry -- and thus showing a future employer that you're involved in the ongoing issues that you may soon be working with.

Play to your strengths.
"We used to ask people, 'What do you want to be when you grow up?'" says Sautter. "We'd do job assessment tests -- well, all of that's kind of out the window. This is a buyer's market. Companies can find exactly who they need. They don't need to be hiring someone who can learn and get up to speed."

So, sure, if you've been in sales your whole life, you can try to tackle a career in forest wildlife management, but if finding work quickly is your goal, you're better off sticking with a field you have experience in.

Recognize that you may have to take a salary cut.
"This won't be very uplifting for your readers," says Sautter, "but salaries have been depressed in this market. There are a lot of people leaving major companies after 20 years with the expectation that they're going to command the same money in the market, and maybe they will -- not everyone takes a salary cut -- but the reality is that they may need to think about 'getting real' if the market is a notch below where they were before."

Crompton puts it another way. "I equate it to when my niece was looking at colleges. She had her top picks and her safety school. That's how I'd use it. What's your safety salary?"

Keep an open mind.
Crompton notes that if you can't get a full-time job with a company, "you can always start the dialogue for an interim position," hoping, of course, that it turns into something permanent later. "Making it all or nothing could be problematic in this market."

Geoff Williams is a frequent contributor to WalletPop. He is also the co-author of the new book "Living Well with Bad Credit."
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