by Mark Cummuta

12 Secrets For Improving Your Job Search In A Recession

Feb 05, 20095 mins

A new year brings new challenges and opportunities to anyone in a job search. This year, we job seekers are facing even bigger challenges due to the global economic recession. The outlook for IT jobs in 2009 is mostly grim, so job seekers have to use a different and more aggressive approach to finding a new job. As I noted several weeks ago, my job search strategies and job search project plan have enabled me to find and be a strong candidate for many more opportunities than those job seekers I know who are using more traditional tactics.

Consequently, when I meet with and assist other job seekers, they frequently ask me to share my “secrets”. I tell them that the honest secret is really about knowing what you want to do, researching and planning how to go about reaching your goal, and then working harder than the next guy or gal to accomplish your goal. Repeat this process each day, each week, even each month if necessary, until you find the right opportunity for you and your family.

I’ve previously summarized the key secrets I use in my own job search in an article I wrote last year, 10 Secrets for Searching for a Job During A Recession. This article has been seeing a significant increase in traffic lately, and I would imagine that is because more and more people are being impacted by the continued downward spiral of our global economy.

Since writing that article, I have made two more observations about the job market – making that “12 Secrets” now – and have adjusted my own job search strategies to improve my odds.  Specifically, I have increased my “time-to-delivery requirements” (how fast I respond to an opportunity), and I have expanded my marketing efforts.

11. Improve your time-to-delivery.

Job opportunities have been pulled off the market for many reasons over the past year. My personal experience shows that when faced with making the final decision on even their ideal candidate, most employers have not been willing to pull the hiring trigger.

But the market has shifted in 2009. Now, I am amazed not by how many jobs are being pulled off the market, but rather how quickly they are disappearing once posted. For the past several weeks hiring firms are posting positions again and are willing to make a hiring decision again. However, they have so many candidates available, and so many applicants applying, that opportunities disappear before I even get a chance to apply. I’ve spoken with recruiters who have apologized that a position was still online, even a mere 48 hours after posting, and that they were not taking any more resumes.

So my lesson learned is to move faster – in calling the recruiter or hiring company to show my interest, in delivering my resume and cover letter, and in following up to make sure they received it. By calling first, I get on their radar while also learning if the position is still open for new candidates. I also give them a definitive time to expect my resume, and verify if that meets their schedule, as well. And then, of course, I make sure to meet that scheduled delivery time!

12. Expand your marketing efforts.

I’ve previously discussed the importance of using multi-channel sales methodologies in your job search strategy. Since a job search is a sales process for the product or service called “you,” then using a multi-channel strategy to identify and validate prospective employers across several “channels”, or leads sources, such as networking, online job boards, recruiters and direct employer contacts, is a fitting model for job seekers to follow.

Online, I have created automated searches on numerous of my targeted firms’ career pages, as well as on several online job sites, including the big name sites (e.g., CareerBuilder, Yahoo, Dice, CraigsList), aggregator sites (e.g., Indeed, SimplyHired), and specialized sites for executives (e.g., CIO, ExecUNet, 6FigureJobs), IT (e.g., ITjobs, CNET), Chicago (e.g., Crains) and by industry (e.g., MilitaryHire, WSJ).

I also use LinkedIn extensively to research companies and hiring managers, find new opportunities, and to help recruiters connect with other job seekers in my network. Over the past several months I have also started using other social media tools, such as Twitter, to expand my marketing and branding.

The results have been dramatic: In just the past four weeks, well over half of my new CIO-level job leads are coming from my LinkedIn and Twitter networks.

One of the key benefits of social media and networking sites is how they expand your sightline, or the number of eyes that see you. Just like building a solid, mutual network of executive recruiters has more people – eyes – watching for opportunities for you, the same goes for social media networks. These tools can help establish you as an expert in your field, with a voice that others are interested in. As you connect with others by “following” them, you learn more about your industry, your specialty, and about the people that may be able to help you in your job search. And they in turn can learn about you!

In upcoming blog posts, I will be covering:

  • Building a better brand of “you”,
  • Job search expenses,
  • Job search technologies and websites,
  • The “Hidden Job Market” and how to tap into it,
  • On the Job versus Interviewing personas,
  • How to get the most out of your referrals and recommendations, and
  • Networking 201 (Advanced Networking Skills)

As always, thank you very much for all of your comments, emails and input!!

Tweet this (



Mark Cummuta

CIO Job Search: A Real Life Chronicle

Connect with me on LinkedIn

Follow me on Twitter