How To Effectively Compete In A Tough Job Market

Getting In Gear For Career Success

or less and stop. Let them probe and ask you more. You want to be crisp, clean and focused and confident.” You also want to be proactive, which can be accomplished by “peppering the conversation with little insights into the company,” she says. “You set yourself miles apart just by answering questions with, ‘I know you historically had high turnover in marketing and it could be a result of X. The way I approach that kind of thing differently is …’” It shows that you really know something substantial about the company.

Being properly prepared requires time between interviews. “If you’re someone who says with pride, ‘I’ve interviewed [with] six companies in the past six weeks,’ there is no possible way you could have put all [the necessary] effort into each of those different businesses,” states Hall.

Be flexible. Being flexible extends into several areas of your job search, says Mason. It requires you to consider other industries, to consider relocation and oftentimes a pay cut. Recognizing the extent to which you may have to leave your comfort zone necessitates introspection, offers Giscombe. “Before you are honest with your interviewers about their questions, it’s really a self-assessment of what you honestly want … then figuring out the tradeoffs.”

Alexander credits his ability to be flexible to his faith and family. The former manufacturing executive left behind his industry and comfortable life in Columbia, Maryland, for a new opportunity to work in real estate in North Carolina. “I always believed that God would provide,” he says.

If you keep the faith, and proceed with an open mind and a plan, you can get back on track.

MAKING THE SWITCH
Seven years ago, Rod Mcdonald was a computer programmer and developer who had worked for such companies as IBM Corp. and Martin Marietta Aero & Naval Systems and had just secured a job with Dow Jones & Co., providing computer support and managing information technology projects for the newsroom.

“I was happy in tech. When I came to Dow Jones, the first two years were good because there was [challenging] work,” Jones says. “After that, it became mundane and I realized it wasn’t something I wanted to do anymore. I was thinking that I wanted to go back to grad school for something that I really felt passionate about.”

After five years with Dow Jones, McDonald enrolled in a film and video production program at Washington, D.C.’s American University. He had been taking classes part time for only a couple of weeks when his career transition plans took on a whole new urgency. In November 2002, Dow Jones laid him off.

At first, McDonald started sending off résumés in desperate search of another technology job. “That really wasn’t working. The economy was really bad when I initially got laid off–at its worst–and I wasn’t hearing anything from anyone.”

After fruitless searching, McDonald reconsidered his plan to make a career change. Fortunately, because he had taken note of the massive layoffs that had been taking place across the technology industry, he had

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