Stay Cool During the Unemployment Meltdown

5 Basic Reminders for Your Job Hunt

Layoffs have now reached the highest level on record. With the unemployment rate projected to reach 10 percent within six months, job security is waning and job availability is rapidly shrinking.

Lawrence Mishel, the president of the Economic Policy Institute, notes that for every available job, there are four people that are unemployed and looking for work. This statistic is more than double what it was in 2007, before the recession officially hit.

“This is a very rigged game of musical chairs,” Mishel says, “with eight people moving around trying to find two chairs.”

If you have found yourself unemployed or underemployed, you are not alone. And while there is strength in numbers, in this economy, the higher the unemployment rate, the weaker your chance of obtaining a job.

So, what can you do in order to beat the odds? Much of a job search comes down to luck and timing, but don’t leave your future to chance.

Here are some tips to avoid becoming a casualty of the unemployment crisis:

1. Start your search as soon as possible.
Let your friends and family know that you are in the market for a new job. Be aggressive. Apply to every role that you are qualified for.

2. Be realistic — you may need to take a pay cut.
“When you have a recession … wage growth slows down because employers don’t have to compete for workers,” Mishel says. “Between 2007 and 2010 a typical middle class family will see at least six percent lower income.”

Consider taking a role that is slightly lower on the totem pole than your previous one.

3. Stay informed.
Read local and national business newspapers, journals, and trade magazines. You can stay informed by subscribing to trade magazines and reports, many of which are free. (Find the right free publication for you here).

“Reading the trades helps me stay on top of what companies and agencies are doing,” says Joe Anthony, a senior executive at a national public relations agency. “Reading trade magazines also allows me to keep up to speed on what agencies are making moves with new initiatives and new hires.”

4. Believe in your value.
When you score an interview, never appear overanxious and never beg. Companies want to hire talented and confident professionals.

5. Don’t forget to keep track of any job-search expenses.
Costs incurred may be tax deductible.

In addition to the staggering unemployment rate, 2.6 million people have been out of work for more than 6 months. Follow the steps above to keep yourself out of that statistic.

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