How to Land Your First Job in a Tight Economy

When unemployment rates rise, the competition the job market becomes increasingly challenging. Whether you’re looking for your first job or trying to land a new position, it’s more important now than ever to stand out from the growing crowd of job applicants. Sometimes people in the midst of a job search become so focused on one job search method, such as sending out resumes, they forget to cover all of their bases.  A single strategy may eventually land you a job, but it’s likely you’ll spend more time being frustrated than interviewed.
Successful job hunters adapt to meet individual employers’ needs and use multiple strategies to find a job. Here’s what you can do to set yourself apart and outshine the competition.
Be Flexible in Your Requirements
In a job market as tough as this one, a flexible approach to job hunting is key. Don’t limit yourself when it comes to salary, title, and the length of your commute. Consider part-time and interim jobs, which can also help build your skills and experience. These positions get your foot in the door and could turn into something more permanent. If an employer is impressed with your job performance, he or she will keep you in mind for future vacancies.
Network with Personal Contacts
Career experts estimate that the vast majority of job openings are never advertised or publicly announced, but filled through word of mouth or networking – also known as the hidden job market. Networking means developing a broad list of contacts and using them to your advantage when you are seeking employment. Make a list of all of your friends, relatives,teachers, co-workers and acquaintances. Call each one of them and ask if they know of any openings that they could recommend you for. Tell them what you’re looking for, but let them know that you are flexible and open to any suggestions.
Social Networking for Career Success
Social networking is changing the U.S. job seeking landscape. If you don’t have a social media presence, you may be at a disadvantage in this competitive job market. All three of the  top social networks – LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter -are free and easy to join, and can be used to get job search advice and tips,to network, and to connect with career and job search experts, companies that are hiring, and other job seekers. A strong social presence can boost your candidacy and help ensure you will be found by recruiters and hiring managers.  In addition, employers are increasingly accepting applications directly from these and other industry-related networking sites.  If you haven’t used social networking sites for anything other than connecting with your friends and family, don’t worry. Create a social media presence one site at a time.
Get More Education and Training to Increase Your Value
Improve your chances of being hired by gaining more education, work experience and certifications. This will make you a stronger job candidate in your field of interest and open the door to more career opportunities and greater earning potential. Make a list of work-related skills you’d like to learn. The sooner you start building the right credentials, the stronger your resume will be to prospective employers.
Remember that for any job hunter, persistence is the key to success. Don’t be discouraged by rejection. Nobody receives a job offer for every job application they submit. If you didn’t get the job, remain positive and ask to be contacted if another opening occurs.  Be sure to leave a copy of your resume, and thank the employer for their time. Remain persistent and your hard work will ultimately pay off.
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