As a professional resume writer, I am on the front lines, interviewing job seekers daily.  Here is what I have found to be their biggest challenge, getting interviews, plain and simple.  There is also handling the disappointment of not hearing back. Eventually, they think it is my resume, as it has been 4 months since my last interview.  Very few folks know how to market themselves effectively and it also seems developing and using your network is just something most are too busy or shy to do.

I think the computer age, and the popularity of TV has made most folks less connected to other folks than in recent history.  In my opinion, many folks have to know people still hire people.  Computers don’t, websites don’t and you likely need to expand your network of connections if you don’t have an inside connection to a job already.

BNI International, known as BNI on the Internet, is a great networking group that has local meetings at which each member speaks for one minute on who they want to help or where they need help.  After all the introductory speeches, you mingle and meet warm connections who already are familiar with you from your intro. This facilitates better connections for all. Leading to more folks getting the help they need.  It sure beats more time wasted reading job postings that are being bombarded with 1000 resumes each or fake.

I recently communicated with David Arnold who works for the Department of Labor and Training in the Boise, Idaho area as a workforce consultant. He said: “The two big things for me, were going to have that consultant review my resume and practice interviewing with me and then networking to find the Gulf news classifieds jobs today and get an interview.” David is a big believer in the power of developing connections and using their connections. Now he teaches this skill to job hunters in his area.

It is 2009; we have to learn to be proactive, not reactive. Have your career documents like recommendation letters, resumes, and cover letters ready ahead of time.

Establish and maintain your network ahead of time. Make sure you stay in touch with your professional references and their contact info is up to date. Make sure your interview clothes fit properly. Make sure all of this is done ahead of time, so you can hit the ground running. While you are gainfully employed see about helping others from your network whenever you can.

A few newspaper professionals I know are witnessing their beloved employer and industry circle the drain, during a time RI has greater than 11% unemployment. But they are LinkedIn members and power networkers so they are doing something about it. They just scheduled a meet up of sports fans to enjoy a “networking meet up game” at the Pawtucket Red Sox game. During this fun night out they will be solidifying their network connections, adding connections and seeking out any opportunities that may be presented to them. There is not much better than helping out a friend in need or making new friends, indeed. I predict each of these guys will have an interview from this meet up in mere days. If Rhode Islanders can do it, you can too.

One of the bright spots of this recession is; it is definitely bringing more people together again.

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