Working Strategies: Tips for handling your post-recession job hunt

Well, I’m glad that’s all over. According to the federal government, we’re probably done with the recession and pointed toward blue skies again. Break out the bubbly!

What, no bubbly? The problem with this post-recession period, compared with others, is that consumers aren’t buying champagne, or much of anything for that matter.

Working Strategies by Amy Lindgren

Working Strategies by Amy Lindgren


Still, people will get jobs. They’re just not always the jobs people wanted.

Here is advice for three stages of your post-recession career:

1. Taking the first post-recession job. When it’s time to say yes to an employer’s offer, you may not have much leverage for negotiating. You both know there are other candidates who will take this position as offered, so how much can you really ask for?

Probably a little more than you think. While salary bumps may be off the table and 401k matches may never fatten your bank account again, extra vacation, tuition reimbursement and cross-training might still be possible. You might even find telecommuting to be an option.

Whatever you ask for, if you say yes, do it with commitment. This may not be the job you were hoping for, but you’re making a promise to your new employer to do your best.

2. Rebuilding your career. You have to work harder than ever. Remember that tuition reimbursement and cross-training you negotiated for? Now you have to make use of these benefits. If there’s one thing I’ve heard more often than almost anything else from laid-off workers, it’s that they did not take advantage of career-building programs offered by their employers.

In addition to training, you need to rebuild your network. If this is a new field for you, it’s imperative that you attend professional association meetings or conferences so you can build your database. If this is your old field, then you need to renew contact with your colleagues.

3. Looking for the next job. Somewhere down the road you will be ready for a job that suits you better. Assuming that happens a couple of years from now, and that you’ve been building your skills, credentials and network, this should be a fun job search. The economy should be more robust as well, so you may find yourself jumping several levels in salary or responsibility. Keep that image in mind, and it may help you weather the next couple of years of hard work.

Amy Lindgren owns Prototype Career Service, a career consulting firm in St. Paul. She can be reached at alindgren@prototypecareerservice.com or at 626 Armstrong Avenue, St. Paul, MN 55102.

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