Matthew Wall has been spending a lot more time playing catch with his dog, Gucci, outside his Melrose, Mass. home. The product manager was laid off back in December from his job at a consumer electronics firm.
"I've never been laid off before," he said. "It's been a transition, sort of like an emotional rollercoaster."
Nancy Wolfe is back in the job market for the first time in 15 years. She was laid off from a semi-conductor company last fall.
"It's like landing on the moon. It's like a totally different landscape," she said.
Nancy and Matthew are both searching for jobs at a time when companies are cutting positions by the thousands. Finding work in this environment can seem like mission impossible, but that's not necessarily true, according to Brendan King, owner of the recruiting firm King & Bishop.
"The opportunity is out there," he said. "You just have to bring yourself to that opportunity."
King says it's all about knowing what to do. He suggested several strategies to help Nancy and Matthew get a leg up on the competition.
Job Search Strategy #1: Look for the Hidden Job.
Many people who are laid off automatically run out and post their resume on the web. According to King, that's not the simple solution it used to be.
"Putting a resume on a Web site is probably akin to casting one fishing line in the water and hoping you get a bite."
King said many of the best jobs never get posted at all.
Job Search Strategy #2: Maximize Social Networking Sites.
On sites like Linkedin, you can join professional groups within your industry. That makes it easy to pitch your skills directly to those who may have openings that fit your qualifications.
If you have already applied for a job, use the site to search the company to see if you know anyone who works there. Linked In also has exclusive job postings.
King is wary of Facebook. Even though the site has a broad base of members, it's still dominated by the unprofessional antics of teens and twenty-somethings. Some experts, however, say it can be helpful as long as you keep your page clean.
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