1 | Look for opportunities. Take on new assignments to broaden your skills. Put out feelers to see whether you’re marketable outside your company. On an interview, don’t passively expect to be told where you’ll fit in. Create a job for yourself.
2 | Become a skilled job hunter. Successful job seekers know what they want, understand the swings in the market and know how to present themselves.
3 | Develop new skills. If you lack experience, get some. While you are searching, take a course and learn something new. Join an association in an area related to your new skill. Volunteer so you can add practical experience to your resume.
4 | Target what you want. Select certain geographic areas, specific industries and sizes of organizations (large or small). Then find contacts in companies that meet your criteria.
5 | Expand your job-hunting targets. Think of other geographic regions for your job search. If you’re looking only at large firms, consider smaller and midsize ones. Or if you’re looking only at large public companies, consider privately owned ones or not-for-profits as well.
6 | See people two levels higher than yourself. Initially, do some research and contact people on your level to find out about an area of accounting and see how well your skills match up. Then contact people at a higher level who are in a position to hire you or recommend that you be hired.
7 | Follow up—and follow up some more. If someone took the time to meet with you, follow up with a thank-you note. After an interview, consider what they liked about you, what they didn’t and how you might influence the hiring decision.
8 | Expect to be in “search mode” for a while. Though you may find something right away, it is sensible to develop financial backup plans. What side work can you do to earn extra money? How can you cut expenses?
9 | Build relationships with lots of people. Practice your pitch with them to become more self-confident about the interview process. Even if they don’t have a job at the moment, something could open up soon. Keep in touch via mail or e-mail.
10 | Keep your spirits high. Many job hunters get discouraged and drop out of the race. Don’t be one of them. What you’re going through is not easy and you’re not alone. Hang in there and eventually you’ll find a job.
Source: Five O’Clock Club, New York, 2006.