Good Advice for a Tough Job Market

Scott Francis
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Well, the new unemployment number is out today, and it’s a tough one: 533,000 jobs lost in November, which is the most since before I entered the workforce.  Sandy Kemsley just posted on building your social network before you get laid off – and I couldn’t agree more with what she wrote.  I’ll re-emphasize a couple points here… 1.  Facebook is not for professional networking (Its fun, but that’s not the same thing!).  In fact, as far as I’m concerned, for most white-collar workers, the only social networking services worth their salt are LinkedIn and Plaxo (Plaxo does a good job of keeping your contact information up to date, and keeping others’ contact information up to date in your database, but I don’t think it is a good site for networking, compared to LinkedIn). 2.  Don’t wait til you get laid off to start this process. 3.  It doesn’t take too much time, but it IS an investment.  There’s no immediate payoff, but it can pay off years down the road, even if it doesn’t pay off next month. 4.  It may allow you to help someone else find a job.  Be a good friend, help out! If you do get laid off, look for smaller startup companies that might need help but can’t commit to hiring full-time – perhaps they’ll take some help on a contract basis to get them through a busy season, and that might be just the bridge you need to get a good full-time job.  Be creative and be flexible and you may just find a job, even in this environment.

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  • Just to comment on my own post… was reading an article on silicon alley insider and commented on sandy’s blog about it, thought i’d share here as well:
    http://www.alleyinsider.com/2008/12/the-complete-guide-to-surviving-layoffs

    At the very least, its some stuff to read on your first day or two of sitting on the bench! One extra thing I would recommend to anyone laid off – subscribe to the local paper (or read it online) every day. Find the local business rag that covers local businesses and either subscribe or read it online. I actually recommend subscribing, because stepping away from your computer to read a print edition will keep you a little more focused, and you’ll tend to read the “random” articles that may turn out to be useful.

    At the very least, it keeps you well informed of local business happenings which will make you sound more informed when you talk to companies that might hire you. when they mention company X and you say “oh yes, i saw they just closed that deal with IBM” or “right, they just got new office space off of mopac” you sound a bit more relevant and with-it. :)

    And if you’re in austin, connect with the bootstrap community. these are people starting their own businesses. You may be able to score some short-term work, at reduced rates, and you may find yourself a new job or career track in the process by working with a local startup. Lots of these startups need a little extra help but can’t afford to hire someone fulltime. If you get to meet them in the meetings they are already going to, you may benefit in getting a job with one of them or a contract. Good luck!

  • Just to comment on my own post… was reading an article on silicon alley insider and commented on sandy’s blog about it, thought i’d share here as well:
    http://www.alleyinsider.com/2008/12/the-complete-guide-to-surviving-layoffs

    At the very least, its some stuff to read on your first day or two of sitting on the bench! One extra thing I would recommend to anyone laid off – subscribe to the local paper (or read it online) every day. Find the local business rag that covers local businesses and either subscribe or read it online. I actually recommend subscribing, because stepping away from your computer to read a print edition will keep you a little more focused, and you’ll tend to read the “random” articles that may turn out to be useful.

    At the very least, it keeps you well informed of local business happenings which will make you sound more informed when you talk to companies that might hire you. when they mention company X and you say “oh yes, i saw they just closed that deal with IBM” or “right, they just got new office space off of mopac” you sound a bit more relevant and with-it. :)

    And if you’re in austin, connect with the bootstrap community. these are people starting their own businesses. You may be able to score some short-term work, at reduced rates, and you may find yourself a new job or career track in the process by working with a local startup. Lots of these startups need a little extra help but can’t afford to hire someone fulltime. If you get to meet them in the meetings they are already going to, you may benefit in getting a job with one of them or a contract. Good luck!