If, despite conducting an advanced job search with a great branded resume, you still can't get a job in your chosen field/function, the options below are worth considering. Short on time? Skim the bolded areas below to get the gist of these 3 strategies.
1. KNOW WHERE THE JOBS ARE IN YOUR FIELD AND REDIRECT YOUR CAREER TOWARDS THEM. Do research to uncover the areas of high-demand and the areas that will languish going forward. Consider getting a relevant certification or doing an internship in the growth area.
In IT, there are areas where hiring is expected to be strong and areas where the jobs may be gone forever. The Hackett Group is recommending that companies not hire back laid-off system admins and support staff, but rather outsource those jobs to other countries where the pay scales are lower. Someone called me last week and told me that his job in IT - inside sales - was being offshored to India. So a job that he assumed was secure turned out not to be.
Areas of projected high growth in IT are Security, Healthcare IT, Global Wireless, Virtualization Software, Business Analytics, SaaS. Can you get qualified to work in one of these specialty areas?
2. CHANGE YOUR CAREER & GET CERTIFIED IN A NEW FIELD. You may or may not be ready for a radical change, but sometimes, to transition to a growth sector and start paying the bills, there is a solution that would enable you to get a good job with good-enough pay (depending on your requirements) after only a few months or, in some cases, a year or more of study and internship. (A year of studying beats a year of knocking your head against the wall going to job fairs and sending out resumes.)
Review your local community college's certification programs. Inquire into its career placement program and its ties to local businesses that may be hungry for graduates of the certification programs. These certifications often came about because of the dearth of skilled employees in those areas and business demand for employees in the region.
There are certifications in many areas, including public safety and homeland security, human resources, and auditing. To stay in IT, you can increase your eligibility for IT jobs in healthcare by getting a healthcare IT certification. Hiring in this area can be expected to be strong as healthcare delivery becomes increasingly IT-dependent.
This is a sample of my local community college's offerings: there is a new Energy Utility Technology Certificate Program meant to help meet the "urgent, long-term need" of utilities for these specialists. Utility SmartGrid initiatives will be requiring IT employees and others. Biotechnology Technician is another certification that is offered that, like the energy certification, requires an internship, giving you real-world, valuable experience with an employer that would give you an edge in hiring. Computer Forensics Certification. Dental Assisting. Many others.
Earning a valued healthcare certification may help you change your career. As the population of aging Americans grows, more services will be needed. There are many clinical-professional as well as administrative certifications in healthcare. Some in-demand jobs with certifications are: MRI technologist, radiation therapist, and nuclear medicine technologist. There are other certifications that promise to be growth areas as boomers age such as Certified Life Care Planner and Certified Life Care Manager, as well as Medicare Set-Aside Certified Consultant.
3. GET CREATIVE, FOLLOW YOUR PASSION, AND CHANNEL YOUR INNER ENTREPRENEUR. On NPR's "On Point" radio program on "Life After Layoffs," the discussion centered around a film, "Lemonade," about what the laid-off executives of a Manhattan ad agency went on to do when it was clear there were no jobs for them. One exec profiled turned his avocation into his vocation. He left Manhattan for a studio upstate and now sells enough of his paintings to live well in a less-expensive region. (The strategy of reducing your expenses and/or changing your lifestyle is one that can help you make the transition away from a big paycheck and towards a more meaningful career.) One exec became a yoga and holistic health counselor. Another became a career reinvention coach. One caller took his passion for European car parts and turned it into an Internet business.
Many people's successful alternative careers are heavily dependent on technology for making products and on the Internet for selling products and services.
Wired Magazine (Feb. 2010) predicts that a new industrial revolution is in the making "in an age of open source, custom-fabricated, DIY product design." Now that individuals are able, without a high capital outlay, to use computers and 3-D printers to design and prototype new products and then outsource custom, "small-batch" manufacturing to China, many small entrepreneurs are successfully bringing their products to market. Some examples? A kit car manufacturer. A company that makes accessories that interface with Lego blocks. Bike components. Customer furniture. Noise-canceling wireless headsets. If you have a great idea for a new product, you may be able to grow a business from your garage.
IN SUMMARY. If you are out of work and feel out of options, these new directions might spark an idea for you that could result in a rewarding new career. With the fast pace of technological change, the vicissitudes of the market, and an increasingly global economy, it makes sense for everyone - jobless or not - to be thinking about having an ace up their sleeve and an idea about how to adapt to "what's next."