Six Things to Do if you're Unemployed and Trying to Get a Job in the New Year

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David N. Schwartz

It’s a new year, the holidays are behind us, and you’re starting a job search, or you’re restarting the one that you had going before everyone checked out for the holidays.  Here are six suggestions for developing some momentum and keeping it going:

1.  Make sure you’re talking to as many headhunters as you can  

Some headhunters won’t talk to you unless they are working on a search for which you’re the perfect candidate.  Others, though, may have a broader, more flexible approach, and will be willing to brainstorm with you about possible places for them to make an introduction for you.

2. Scour the job boards

This is self-evident, but worth stressing. eFinancialCareers is an obvious site (a tip of the hat to this publication!) but there are others as well.  Look at all of them.

3. Network, network, network  

Use the on-line sites for this – Linked In is an obvious one.  But also use old fashioned technology too.  Harness alumni networks as well – undergrad as well as grad/business school.  Most universities and professional schools keep active alumni networking sites.  And don’t forget, phones calls work even in these digital times. Start with friends and former colleagues. Then, when you’re talking to someone, try to get two new names from that person.  Soon your call list will be enormous, and you’ll be networking into firms and businesses that you didn’t even think of when you started.  Finally, don’t be shy about social engagements.  Some people who are out of work will avoid socializing for fear of being asked the dreaded question: “What do you do for a living?” Don’t dread it.  The more people know you’re looking for work, the more likely it is that someone will think of you when a job opens up.

4. Keep abreast of market developments  

Just because you’re out of work, that doesn’t mean you need to stop looking at the financial news or stop keeping on top of developments in your field.  If you’re a bond person, keep track of benchmark yields.  If you’re an equity derivatives person, keep track of major deals done, major product developments.  If you do mergers, be aware of the big deals in the market.  Follow relevant developments on the regulatory front.  When you do get an interview, you’ll be a whole lot smarter.

5. Check out the news sites for recruiting announcements  

When someone leaves a firm to take a job elsewhere, it might mean that the firm that person left has a hole in its organization, a hole that can be filled.  It never hurts to place a call and see what’s up.

6.  Keep an open mind  

Jobs that look unsuitable at first glance may actually seem challenging or exciting when you learn more about them.  Throw away your preconceived notions, and you may surprise yourself.

David Schwartz is CEO at search firm DN Schwarz & Co. He is a former director of recruitment at Goldman Sachs. 

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