I seem to have a lot of friends these days who are looking for jobs. This economy is so difficult, and many people have been laid off, downsized or received major pay cuts. I also know a fair number of mom friends who are rejoining the workforce after having stayed home with children for an extended period of time.

Back in the day, I used to be pretty proficient on this topic. My Master's degree is in Human Resource Development and the first half of my career was working at Vanderbilt University at the Recruitment Manager, and then for Kaiser Permanente in that same capacity. When I "retired" in 1991 to stay home with little Eric, I had a corner office and a staff of eleven and spent my time managing my staff and recruiting for high level positions at the medical center.

When I think about those days now, I realize how much things have changed! We had two full time employees who actually answered the phone (no voice mail), we used "inter office envelopes" to send mail around (and they were physically carried around be people!), email and computers were relatively new in the office, and we advertised our jobs in the newspaper (you remember that thing...it used to be a lot thicker!). So much has changed in these past twenty years - in some ways I feel like the proliferation of technology has likely made it much more difficult for those in the job search process. You have to compete with so many other people who are also responding to the job postings online, and the proliferation of technology likely means more competition for every job.

So today, I'd like to have a conversation about some of the classic elements of the job search that haven't changed, and also to ask people for some help:

  1. Pray with me for those who are unemployed or seeking new employment
  2. Post your suggestions on good job search techniques
  3. If you know of an employer who is looking for a reliable employee, feel free to post job listings in the comments below
In no particular order, here are my thoughts on some things that likely haven't changed about being successful in your job search:
  • Networking - your best resources probably already come from people you know. If you're looking for a new job or a return to the workforce, swallow your pride and let people in your life know so that they can be thinking of you if they hear of an opportunity.
  • You are Always ON - If networking is key to your success, remember that all of your actions should be oriented towards putting your best foot forward. In the age of Facebook, Twitter and Google +, tidy up your online presence, search your name and see what comes up, and remember to present yourself well in all of your contacts, even among friends.
  • Don't be a pest - Be tactful with the interviewers you meet. Follow up appropriately, but DO NOT hound them.
  • Say Thanks - I firmly believe in not only a "thank you" email, but also a handwritten or printed letter of thanks to anyone who interviews you for a job. Taking the extra step to stick a stamp on an envelope will never hurt you, and could actually be the thing that helps your name to rise out of a pile and stand out.
  • Think Creatively - Along with looking for work with others, think about ways you might turn your passions into your profession. Yes, you might have to start small, but who knows when a little "dot com" could be the first step to making your dreams come true. Believe me, I've been there - it can happen. It wont' be easy, it won't happen quickly, and you might not make a ton of money, but you could find that this is the key to using your God given talents in a way that brings you great joy and helps others along the way.
Now it's your turn - chime in and let me know what you think on this topic. And if you'd like to post anonymous comments for prayer requests for friends and family in the job search, feel free. I will carry them with me and pray for each individually.