“Pray that the LORD your God will tell us where we should go and what we should do.”
Over the years, many friends and family have often asked me for assistance in their job search. I write and revise resumes and offer job search advise. Yet, the job market is drastically changing. During the Industrial Age anyone could just walk into a business and apply for any position. But now, we are in the Information Age where everything is digital and we must apply online. Prior to that horrific day of 9-11; you could still walk in and drop off a resume in response to a newspaper ad. These days, classified ads in newspapers are few and far between. I am often asked how to get a job in a turbulent market, how to find an entry level job and how to stay marketable.
While we are inclined to “Change with the times.” I find there are fundamental things that should remain constant in our lives, no matter the economic climate:
Prayer: To stay hopeful and renew our faith in God’s promises. As we pray for one another, remember that we offer something wonderful:
- The Name of the Lord Jesus Christ to use in faith
- The indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit to empower your prayers.
- The expectation it will come by FAITH in the name of Jesus! Pray and ask for his Holy intervention in your search and that His will be done, not yours. Believe and expect it to come to pass!
Prayer prepares your mind and spirit for the task ahead. Think positive thoughts; reaffirm your faith and confidence in all that the Lord has already prepared for us.
When my previous position ended, prayer resulted in a new job in my home state within 30 days. Just when I hadn’t heard anything from the interview; I was literally packing my car to return to a southern state. When the recruiter phoned and asked if I could stay and take the employer’s drug test the very next day. I know that God hears and answers our prayers!
Matthew 6:6 NIV
But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then, your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.
Job 22:27 NIV
You will pray to him, and he will hear you, and you will fulfill your vows.
Preparation: While the purpose of work is to be paid in exchange for our labor. All too often, I hear jobseekers say that they’ve applied for senior positions that they simply have no aptitude, education or training for. But, then they may feel that they should be entitled to a great salary. Yet, sometimes they’ve done nothing in preparation to be qualified for the position that they are seeking. Often, they are not willing to put forth the effort and have no vision for their future.
Sure, we all have gifts that our heavenly Father has bestowed upon us. But, I believe we are accountable for sharing our gifts. Ask yourself: What have you done in preparation for the opportunity you’re seeking? Have you prayed and asked God for His holy intervention, wisdom and guidance? What courses or training have you completed? Have you updated your resume and/or skills?
Salaries have declined in the recent 6-8 months. It helps to know the current market demand and worth for your chosen career. Research the salaries in the regional or metropolitan area of your job search. Preparation is pertinent for a successful job search and future progress.
Joshua 7:13 NIV
“Go, consecrate the people. Tell them, ‘Consecrate yourselves in preparation for tomorrow; for this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: That which is devoted is among you, O Israel…”
I was recently assisting a high school graduate with his job search this spring. When I asked, ‘What’s your response when you’re asked “What are your strengths? or Where do you see yourself in five years?” His reply was, “I don’t know. I really just need a job to make the money!” He lacked a strategy, and had no plan for his job search.
Planning and research are paramount to achieving any goal in life. Regardless of the media reports that there are no jobs. You can secure a job with proper planning. (Possibly not your dream job, but a job to stay afloat until you land another.)
Jeremiah 29:11 NIV
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
Planning: Most of us don’t want to be in between jobs any longer than we have to. But, there’s an old saying, “If you fail to plan, then you plan to fail.” There are a lot of free resources online to assist in your job search. The issue is how to get started.
A) First, focus on your objectives: What kind of job are you seeking (entry-level, full or part-time, management or team member?) Utilize every online resource at your disposal. If you don’t have Internet access at home:
- The Department of Labor has a Job Service in every state where you can access the internet for your job search. They often have training centers as well.
- Your local library should also have unlimited access to the internet.
- Try your local community college or universities for computer labs.
- Or perhaps you have a friend or relative with a PC and internet access.
- Know how to search the internet. For example: If your objective is a job as a “butcher”, also search for “meat manager AND meat cutter”. Another example: If you’re seeking something in “marketing” search in related fields, such as “SEM (aka search engine marketing) OR advertising OR web marketing OR email marketing” to broaden your search.
- Be sure to create an email address separate from your personal account, to avoid the barrage of emails generated from your resume submissions. (See yahoo.com, mail.com, or gmail.com to name a few.)
- Keep an electronic copy of your communications in a folder, so that you know whom you’ve responded to.
- Be careful of start-up companies or small mom-and-pop shops run in someone’s basement. They may not pay you on time for months! (Yes, this can happen. And it may not be against the law; in the case of some right-to-work states… see Georgia or Texas.)
B) What is your target market? Are you willing to relocate? If so, you should determine if you’re limited to a certain region, country or state. Do you have a preference for cold or warm weather? Then research the opportunities and salaries in those areas.
- Network! – I was very hesitant of social networking sites, until I found LinkedIn a couple of years ago. But, online networking is an invaluable tool at any career level. LinkedIn.com is absolutely the best professional networking site, bar none. (Join the groups of your choice, then click on the “Jobs” tab to increase your search.) Do be careful of posting your profile, real name and questionable photos and/or comments all over the web. (A potential employer may think twice about hiring you; if they find you’re scantly clad in a provocative pose online during a background check.) Better yet, just don’t do it. We are professionals and children of the King.
- Share your job search with friends, family, civic – social – and religious groups. You never know if one of them may have contact in a corporate HR office or know a hiring manager.
- Prepare multiple versions of your resume. Such as a functional, a chronological, and what I like to refer to as a “watered-down” version. This pared-down version is useful for seasoned professionals in gaining temporary positions that will sustain you until you secure a job in your chosen career.
- Update your online resume often so that it ranks high in the employers search. Maximize your responsibilities and challenges as well as how you resolved them and added value in your previous position.
- Another strategy is to target your search for staffing, temporary or consulting firms in your area. Then post your resume directly to their websites. This way they can find you in their internal database. Some offer free skills training while you’re on project or assignment with them. (See RobertHalf.com and Manpower.com for starters.) Temporary or short-term projects often convert to full-time positions. It’s still a good way to get your foot in the door.
I recall arriving at an interview, just after 9-11, only to find a line of 200 or more applicants for the same job. Chatting in line, I found that some of them had been in upper management with major corporations. They were now competing for the same technical job that I was hoping for. I decided to use a watered down version of my resume with the bare basics to secure a job within the next 30 days. I stayed there until I could secure a consulting position approximately 6 months later. Tough times call for tough measures.
C) Other questions to ask yourself … What’s your timeline? Are you on a tight schedule? Do you have financial resources (pension, savings, or unemployment benefits) to sustain you during your job search? Are you under under pressure to vacate your home or apartment? These are all important questions. As any of these scenarios could affect your job search.
- A job search is a full time job, or should be if you’re already unemployed. Set your schedule as if you’re still (or already) working. Rise each day with the intent to work your plan.
- Make it a priority to make some contact(s) each day.
- Apply, then re-apply! I often wonder if online resumes don’t disappear into the abyss, never to be found again. If your dream job appears on multiple jobsites, apply again. Perhaps one vendor has a better business relationship with the hiring manager. You never know what factors might determine the initial resume selection.
My final thought; the scripture reminds us not to worry!
* Luke 12:22,27-28 NAS 22. And He said to His disciples, “For this reason I say to you, do not worry about your life, as to what you will eat; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. 27.”Consider how the lilies grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you not even Solomon, in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 28. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today, and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, how much more will he clothe you, O you of little faith!
* Matthew 6:25-33 NIV 25. “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes?
I pray this is helps you to be blessed in your job search. Remember to Keep the Faith! Post your comments
Helping you along the way,
Kim A. Walker, IT Consultant
Contact me at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Accepting all invitations to network on LinkedIn.com @ http://www.linkedin.com/pub/kim-a-walker/6/876/915
* For more on coping in these trying times see the following :
How to Face Crisis without Panic
* For more inspiration on keeping the faith:
Believing in a Big God
Feel free to posts your comments and tips here.