Create Your Own Financial Recovery

The jobless rate could fall modestly next year by more than 0.5 of a percentage point but less than 1.5 percentage points, says Gary Burtless, a labor economist at the Brookings Institution, a Washington, D.C., think tank. “The U.S. economy is growing too slowly to expect a more rapid drop in the unemployment rate.”

Burtless says spending is down because of the loss of wage income among the unemployed, and because the employed fear that they may soon become jobless. Suppressed spending slows economic growth, since there’s less demand for goods and services.

Blue- and white-collar workers alike are beleaguered by unemployment or underemployment. In fact, black enterprise partnered with Walmart to address such issues at its 20/20 Vision Forum in Los Angeles in October. Among the recommendations was that African American professionals can confront these challenges by repositioning and reinventing themselves.

Tips for job seekers to consider:
Volunteer your services. You may score a new job by volunteering your time and expertise to a worthy cause. For instance, if you are a marketing expert, offer to help out the local Boys and Girls Club with its campaign or promotions for a major fundraiser. Doing this will help to expand your network, and you may meet influencers who can advocate on your behalf.

Check out the federal government. The nation’s largest employer is now hiring. About 40% of the jobs are in the mid-Atlantic and Southeast, but there are jobs in other parts of the U.S. and even beyond U.S. borders. Start at www.opm.gov, the government’s employment website. For pay grades for white-collar jobs, look for the “GS” designation. The “FWS” designation signifies blue-collar or hourly wage jobs. Search for specific agency lists at www.usa.gov/directory/federal/index.shtml.

Increase your exposure via social media. You have to do more than post a résumé online at sites such as Monster.com. That’s the old way of getting a job. Employers are now using social media to spot new hires. Use your networks—Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn—to build your brand. Blog about industry topics. Tweet tidbits, news, and other information that’s relevant to your field and helpful to your followers. Use LinkedIn to search for groups and find forums where you can showcase what you know.

Re-educate yourself. Job seekers, especially midcareer professionals, need to retrain themselves, which may require going back to school to acquire new credentials. What certifications would truly be a career booster? No matter what field you’re interested in, chances are there’s a certification for it.

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