Be Open to Change
When looking for a job, especially in economically challenging times, it helps to be open to change.
Perhaps, you will have to do something else, somewhere else, at least for a while in order to survive. What's more, you may be pleasantly surprised where an opportunity may lead you, whether in terms of the kind of work you do, where you do it and whom you meet.
During my job search early in 2008, with my most recent experience being hedge fund portfolio valuations at an investment bank, I was targeting valuations firms, investment banks and hedge funds. However, after Bear Stearns collapsed, with a flood of highly qualified competition looking for employment and a bleak outlook for finding a financial services job in New York City, I realized I had to broaden my search. I did not give up on finding a job in my field in New York, but I started to reach out to new contacts in another field in which I had previous experience - business development. I was soon being considered for a business development position at Hewlett-Packard.
As the markets and economy continued to decline, I also broadened my search geographically, reaching out to financial firms and businesses in other parts of the country. Eventually, I reached out internationally - and I was actually flown to Japan for an interview. While I was contemplating a move to Japan, an offer came in for a position in New York.
Don't Box Yourself In
By being open to change, I found myself investigating several career opportunities in various locations - so my chances of finding a job increased considerably. It was only by fate and perseverance that I eventually found a job in my own field and in my own back yard.
Although you may envision a career as a straight path, it is sometimes necessary and can even be beneficial to take a detour. In a world that is changing faster than a chameleon changes color, it is best not to limit yourself to your own perception of what you think you do. Nor is it wise to limit yourself to other people's perceptions of what you are capable of doing. No matter how much you feel drawn to focus your search on your chosen field, familiar role, core or most recent experience, you should also consider other possibilities and figure out how you can transfer your skills to a new role.
For starters, ask yourself if you are really satisfied with your job. What is your fantasy job? Is there something else you would rather be doing or that you could possibly do? Is there somewhere else you would rather be living or that you could possibly live? It is a great time to explore other possibilities, such as starting your own business.
Pursue 'Cold Contacts'
Being open to change is mean more than just being prepared and willing to change your career or move to a new location for the sake of employment. It also means adjusting to a changing world, being able to adapt the way you live to new circumstances and letting new people into your life. Seventy percent of jobs are found via networking. And the most important networking contacts are not the "warm contacts" (people you already know well), but the "cold contacts" - friends of friends, acquaintances of acquaintances.
You should be open to communicating and meeting with new people and reaching out for help from a professional career coach, community organizations, distant friends, colleagues and acquaintances - cold contacts.
You never know what you may learn, who you may meet or which door may lead to your ultimate success.
Joshua Persky is a New York-based career management author, blogger and lecturer whose professional background is in corporate finance and valuation. Last year he gained worldwide media attention for handing out his resume to strangers on the street while wearing a homemade sandwich board that read: "Experienced MIT Grad for Hire."