Job Search Tactics for a Recession

It has been said that many armies prepare to fight the last war instead of the next one. This was true in World War II in France. The French built a line of heavily fortified defenses designed for the type of trench warfare in World War I. When WWII broke out, the Germans utilized highly mobile tanks to simply drive around the French defenses.

Your job search poses similar challenges. It is likely the economy was good the last time you looked for a job. Today, the situation is different. The tactics that worked so well a few years will be less effective today. You need to adapt.

In a booming economy, many people are directly recruited before they start a formal job search. Companies can’t sit by and wait for candidates to come to them. Posting a resume online could yield phone screens within hours. Hiring managers aggressively sought talent.

Today, the situation is different. Companies can sit back passively and wait for job seekers to come to them. Hiring managers know they can be selective and look for the perfect the fit.

You cannot sit idly and hope companies will call you. You need to be proactive. Just as companies aggressive sought candidates in the past, you need to aggressively seek out opportunities. It sounds easy, but in practice can be difficult.

Many people assume an aggressive job search means sending your resume to everyone. It doesn’t. The key is getting someone to read your resume thoroughly. Blasting your resume to every address on the net is not going to get many people to read your resume. Resume submissions online have increased significantly and your resume may never get read. Large companies often use software to screen resumes before a person takes a look.

To be successful, you need to stand out from the mass of resumes a company receives. There are ways you can customize your approach to a company to improve your chances:

  1. Tailor Your Terminology – Research the company and identify the key terminology the company uses. Revise your resume to use the terms the company prefers instead of alternatives.

  2. Learn the Company’s Priorities – Each company has its own set of values and priorities. Learn what is important. Does the company value consensus building and supporting group results or value individual achievement more? Does the company pursue cutting edge technology, or prefer applying older, proven solutions?  After you lean what is important, emphasize your experience in this area.

  3. Get Referred In – When a job seeker is referred to a hiring manager, whether referral comes from an employee or a recruiter, the hiring manager will usually spend significantly more time reviewing the resume and considering the candidate.

A few years ago, these tactics were not necessary.  They would have been effective, but job seekers didn't need to do them.  Today, you need to adapt and manage your search based on the current challenges.