2008 – What a year! We have a historic President-Elect who we are hoping will inspire the American public. It has been officially declared that the United States has been in a recession for the past 12 months. Companies are laying off ten’s of thousands of workers while others are closing completely. And finally to top it off – a Journalist in Iraq attempted to hit George W. Bush with not one, but both of his shoes and almost succeeded. This one is definitely headed for the record books.

Of these moments, my guess is that most Americans are going into the Holiday season bracing for what 2009 will bring – more layoffs? Who will be next? The longest recessions on record since WWII have been 16 months total – are we nearing an end?

For those of you out there affected by the layoffs, I offer some tips on putting yourself back out on the market.
1. Sit down and spend part of an entire day on your resume. Whatever you do, don’t throw together your most recent job history out of anger and spite – because let’s be honest, it won’t serve to hurt the company – just YOUR job prospects.

2. Be very detailed with regard to how you can help the company with whom you are applying by utilizing cover letters, well thought out emails, etc. Be your own best marketer. (BYOBM) If you’re applying for a Project Management role, your resume should talk about Project Management skills and your cover letter should indicate your strengths with regard to – Project Management.

3. Send your resume to a friend to have them proof it for errors – you would be surprised at the amount of errors despite your best effort to read it dozens of times.

4. Take your suits to the dry cleaner – yes I know that the world is more casual, however, hiring managers want to see you in a suit. This goes for both men and women.

5. Sell, sell, sell – Post your resume, consult with Recruiters that you trust (like me), and apply to roles on-line. Don’t expect the job to come to you. (Sidenote: Keep a detailed list of jobs that you have applied to and be very clear with Recruiters regarding roles that you have applied to directly).

6. Carry copies of your resume with you. Do not assume that they have one printed out – take the burden off of them. They will notice. You can print at Kinkos.

7. If you have non-competes, have a copy with you so you can speak to the restrictions.

8. Have your references ready to go – already contacted, primed, and excited to talk about you. A big red flag goes up when a company asks for references, and the candidate answers “ummmm. Let me check on that.”

9. Be very clear about your salary needs but be realistic. You may have been making $150,000 last year, but have you done the research recently to see what folks are now making? I bet you’ll be surprised to see it has dropped somewhat. You must let them know your flexibility.

10. Eye contact, firm handshake, and enthusiasm – they go a long way.

Just some friendly advice to those job hunters unexpectedly tossed back on the market.

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