Searching a job in a tough economy

Searching for a Job in a Tough Economy

Many people find themselves looking for a job during a slow economy. Maybe you have been laid off because of the economy slow down, or a college grad looking for a job. While it’s never easy looking for a job it is harder during a bad economy. Here are a few tips to help you along the way of your job search.

Your Résumé

If you have a resume and cover letter it is time to revamp them. Make changes and have it reviewed by a resume professional or someone with excellent writing skills. If you don’t have a resume and cover letter it’s time to create them. Remember in a tough job market job applicants are scrutinized more. Don’t take chances. If you don’t have full confidence in your resume and cover letter writing skills have them done by a professional.

Contact Information

Think about the contact information that job recruiters will receive. Avoid email from your cable or phone services provider. If things get tough you might have to cut back, cancel, or change some of these services. More than likely you will lose your email if you have to take any of these actions. If you don’t already, get a free email from one of the free email service providers such as MSN, Yahoo, or Google Gmail.   You don’t want to miss out on an opportunity just because an email bounced back.

Make sure that your email is an easy read, easy to remember, and not sounding too unprofessional. Your first and last name should be fine. If your name is not available, add numbers, letters, or go for something simple.

If you think paying your bill might become a problem before you find a job, change to a cheaper phone provider. You can also call your current service provider and workout lowering your bill or set up a lower payment plan.  Make sure you take your number with you if you have to change your provider.

Post your resume

Post your resume on multiple job sites, and companies’ career pages. Sign up with more than one staffing agency. Most job sites have job alert features. Be sure to set up that as well. Check your email regularly for job alerts.


Get the word out. Let your former bosses/supervisors, and colleagues know your situation. Let them know to look out for you should there be any job opening that matches your skills at their jobs.  Attend job fairs and networking events. Contact anyone that you think might help you with a job lead.


Contact a few professional people that know you such as a former boss/supervisor, college professor, teacher, dentist, etc. Let them know that you are looking for a job and you are putting your reference list together. Ask if it is ok to add them as a reference. If it’s ok with them, get all their current contact information such as place of work, phone number, and email address.  Contact only those who know you best and are willing to give you the best of reference. Upon getting an interview that looks promising, let references know to expect to be contacted.

Digital Foot Print

If you are into social media check your post and pictures. Delete any photos and posts that might not show you in a good light. Start posting, and share positive stuff on your pages. Organizations will google you as part of their background check. If they don’t like what they see you will not get an interview and you know what that means. Even after getting a job, watch what you post on social media. We have seen so many people get into trouble or lose their job over their social media postings.

Research Companies

Research companies that you would like to work for. Apply for any jobs that they might have to offer that fit your skills. Visit their website and read their profile. Google those companies to hear what others are saying about them. Knowing about a company will come in handy when the question of what do you know about us comes up in an interview.

Research Industries

Research different industries to see what they might have to offer based on your skills. Some industries fare better in a rough economy than others. So, try to look for a job in industries that are stable or growing despite a slow economy.

Assess Your Skills

If you have been laid off due to an economic downturn, don’t just focus on finding a job in the same industry that you been laid off from. You can transfer your skills to other industries. Hiring managers look at your work history, education, and acquired skills to see if you are a fit for their organization, not the industry overall.  So, apply for jobs that you have the qualifications for regardless of the industry. Look at State, Local, and Federal job sites to see what they have to offer.

Attend Job Fairs

Email a copy of your resume to yourself and create a special folder in your email for it.  Print copies on good quality resume paper for when you go to job fairs. Job fairs are places to do as much networking as possible. So, when you attend a job fair don’t just hand out resumes. Have a short conversation with recruiters. Tell them you respect their time so you would like to follow up on your conversation via email. Then ask for their business card or email. Be sure to follow up with every recruiter who gives you their card and email address the same day of the job fair. All communication should have your full name, phone number, and email address.

Job Hunt Every Day

Set aside time every day to job search and apply for them. Don’t be discouraged when you don’t hear back from jobs that you applied for. Finding a job in a rough economy is not easy. The job that you applied for might be applied for by so many job hunters before you. Recruiters can only take so many applications for a job before starting the interviewing process to make their hiring decision.

The Alternative

Look into temporary and temp to perm work while you job search. Some temp jobs lead to permanent jobs.   In a slow economy, a lot of community organizations need volunteers. You might want to do some volunteer work. You never know who you might meet that, maybe a potential job lead. Help others in anyways that you can, such as volunteering at a food bank.

Get Your Proper Rest

Not having a job when you need or want one and things are rough changes mood and behavior. One behavior is staying up late at night watching TV and waking up later in the day. However, waking up too late in the day often put one in the mood of not wanting to do much, or at least make you less productive. You want to be up at a reasonable time to do your job search, follow-up on job leads, and apply for jobs.

Stay Informed and Engaged

Read self-help books and articles. Keep up with current events, such as what’s going on in the job market. Today a lot of organizations are conducting video interviews.  If you have never done a video interview for a job you should do some research. See what equipment you will need and how to have a successful video interview.


Your appearance matters. Put together a few good outfits and a decent pair of shoes for job hunting. A business suit is suitable for most job fairs and job interviews. While some job interviews call for dressing business casual, it’s better to dress too professional than it is to under-dress. For more on how to dress for a job interview see a blog on the topic.


Keep up with your grooming as best as you can. One thing you don’t want to do is go to a job fair, networking event, or a job interview not looking the part. We are judge not only on our skill but on whether or not we look the part.

Prepare For All Types Of Job Interviews  

Technology has changed the way we search for jobs. It has also changed the hiring process. We have gone from in-person interviews to phone interviews to video interviews. Video interviews are a bit more technical for job candidates; however, it allows hiring managers to get a better feel for job candidates before an in-person interview, especially for a candidate who lives in an area that they will have to relocate for the job. The video interview also makes the hiring process shorter for the hiring manager. Take some time to research how to be successful at a video interview should you have to participate in one during your job hunting.

Answering Your Phone

Make sure you have a mutual or professional sounding message on your voice mail.  Some background music is not appropriate for someone searching for a job. A “Hello you have reached (Your Full Name) I am sorry; I cannot take your call at the moment. Please leave a message with your contact number and I will get back to you as soon as possible. Thanks for your call” might be just the right answering message.

Keep a Log of Jobs You Applied for

Don’t rely on memory. Keep a log of all online jobs you have applied for and the organization of which you applied. You do not want to keep applying for the same job over and over.  It may look to a job recruiter that you are not paying attention to what you are doing.

Your Health 

Protect your health. Don’t over-stress yourself.  Get in a little exercise if you can. Eat decent meals and get your proper rest. Do some reading. Watch a movie or some sports.  Don’t isolate yourself. Visit and talk to friends and family.

Getting a job in a bad economy is not easy. You might be applying for weeks hopefully not months, going to job fairs, and networking events before getting an interview. Hard work does pay off. Stay positive and don’t give up.

Recommended Reading.
A 7-Step Job Search Plan to Beat the Covid Economy
By Robert Hellmann
Career & Executive Coach, Speaker, Business Consultant