Ask Dr. Job’s chief contributor, Sandra Pesmen, is a member of the Chicago Journalism Hall of Fame and author of “DR. JOB’s Complete Career Guide.”

Winner of several journalism awards, Pesmen is a graduate of the University of Illinois Media College at Urbana, and is listed in several Who’s Who editions. She also has been Corporate Features Editor of Crain Communications Inc., founding Features Editor of Crain’s Chicago Business and a reporter/features writer for The Chicago Daily News.

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Finding Work in Downturn

Don't give up yet. You CAN find a job if you make all the right moves, according to John Challenger, CO of global outplacement consultancy Challenger, Gray & Christmas.
But you must be proactive. No one is going to come to your house asking you to work. You must get out, make noise, and let people know what you can bring to benefit their company. Here are some of Challenger's suggestions:
Advertise your job loss.
If knowing the right people helps to get your foot in the door, then it is essential that the right people know you are seeking a job. An unfortunate obstacle to job search success is pride. Too often people are embarrassed to tell anyone about their job loss, but this secrecy will not provide any job leads.
 
The minute you lose your job or decide you want to change jobs, start telling everyone you know that you are looking. Begin with friends, family and neighbors.
 
Talk to former co-workers and even casual business acquaintances you may have dealt with in your position. Share your plight with people at your house of worship. You can also join new social groups, professional associations and volunteer organizations to expand your circle of potential contacts.
 
Meet with new people every day (or as often as possible).
Whether it is an official interview, an informational interview or just meeting over lunch with a friend who has extensive contacts in a variety of industries, it is critical to meet face to face with people in your network frequently, if not daily.
 
Electronic mail has made staying in touch with contacts faster and easier, but face-to-face meeting remain the most powerful and effective way to communicate your skills, experience and qualifications as well as obtain the most useful help from your contact, in terms of job search advice, potential contacts and new opportunities.

 
OBTAINING INTERVIEWS
 
Once you have created a list of contacts and job leads, the next step is to begin making phone calls to arrange interviews. In each call, your goal is to contact an "action person," someone who can see you and then offer you a job.
 
Contact the Hiring Authority, Not HR.
Human Resources rarely make the final hiring decision, unless the job opening is in that department. The heads of the various departments determine when new people are needed, so it is critical to get their names. If you want to work in sales, then get the name of the head of sales.
 
The best way to obtain a manager's name is simply by calling the company.
(Avoid telling the switchboard the call is about a job or else face transfer to human resources).
 
Seek Interviews When Others Are Not.
Oftentimes, the key to obtaining an interview is having the flexibility to fit into the interviewer's busy schedule. Since you are meeting with a manager, not human resources, chances are the person is very busy with several projects in addition to hiring someone. Let the interviewer know that you are willing to meet before or after hours, on the weekends or at a location other than the office.

Start moving and don't stop until you hear, "Welcome aboard."

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