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A Good Way to Find a Job in Difficult Times — Be Willing to Do What Others Are Not Willing to

27Apr 2009

“Finding a job” continues to be a common topic that comes up in conversations — with friends, clients, families, friends of my kids. The types and levels of job positions is quite broad — from laid-off professionals to young adults looking for their first career position, to high school and college students searching for summer jobs or internships.

In discussing the topic with individuals, three different methods repeatedly come up regarding ways to find jobs:

  1. Have unique abilities, training and experience that set you apart from the competition. If you are in this category, you probably are in good shape for finding work. Unfortunately, most people currently looking for work may not have the combination of unique skills and experience desired.
  2. Networking among current relationships. I have written previously on this topic, and it is a hot topic in the media, so it is easy to find helpful information in this area.
  3. Pursue positions that have high “negative” aspects that make them undesirable to most people. If you are really hurting to find work, then you may need to start considering those positions which aren’t really desirable — to you or others.

To help you think about jobs and positions to investigate, let’s look at the types of characteristics which make some work opportunities less than desirable:

  • Dangerous or hazardous conditions.
  • Low pay.
  • Boring, tedious work.
  • Manual labor.
  • Bad hours required (graveyard shift, weekends, holidays).
  • Travel is required.
  • Less than desirable location (rural; inner city; away from friends & family).
  • Low prestige.
  • Difficult clientele.

I am sure there are other characteristics you may think of. The point is — if there are characteristics about a job or work setting that makes it difficult for them to find good employees (lots of time they are able to find transient employees), then that is a possible good starting point.

For example, my first “counseling” job was working as a “night counselor” (clearly a euphemism) at a residential treatment facility for out-of-control adolescent guys. I was essentially a night watchman, did bed checks to make sure they hadn’t run away, and dealt with crisis situations (fights, drug use, etc.) But it was a start and went on my resume as experience, and I worked my way up from there. Another personal example — while getting my masters degree in counseling I did tree-trimming in homes that were built in orchards. Not especially fun, hot, sticky work, but there was a need and I could make decent money part-time.

In almost every discussion I have with a teenager to twentysomething who is looking for work, I encourage them to “shoot low” to start out. Start “beneath” where they think they really should; be willing to learn from the ground up, demonstrate your work ethic and character — and then they will consider you for a higher level position. I can give you a lot of stories of people who have done this successfully.

In tough times, be willing to do what others typically aren’t, and I am pretty sure you will be able to find and land a job, and hopefully use that as a springboard for your future positions.

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