The US lost fewer jobs than at any time in the past 23 months, buoying hopes that the economy may soon start creating jobs.
"This is good news just in time for the season of hope," President Obama said Friday after the Commerce Department reported that only 11,000 jobs were lost in November and the unemployment rate fell to 10 percent from 10.2 percent the previous month.
So what should job-seekers do in light of Friday's better-than-expected numbers? Adjust your expectations, say recruitment experts, who offer these six tips:
1. Be patient. It's still really hard for most people to find a job (duh!) and the market will stay tight for months to come. "Companies aren't ready to start hiring again," says Bob Damon, president of North America Korn/Ferry, a recruiting firm based in Los Angeles. "They're going to wait to see if this economy really does have legs and where the legs are."
2. Look for contract or temp work. By accepting limited-time assignments, you make it less risky for skittish employers to take you on, says Ms. Donovan. You also gain valuable experience for your resume and allow the employer to try you out. Eventually, he or she will start hiring again once the the economy improves.
3. Stay flexible. This is the time to consider a new industry, a new career, or even a new location, perhaps one of these five up-and-coming cities.
4. Look at that resume with fresh eyes. How do the skills you highlight fit with the growth areas of the economy? Donovan asks. "It may be a time for some reenergizing."
5. Keep plugging. Sending out hundreds of resumes constitutes one big shot in the dark — but shots in the dark occasionally hit something, Mr. Damon says. Networking remains the key, so use churches and local organizations to meet new people who might know of jobs or be willing to recommend you. Don't forget about volunteer opportunities. "Like a friend said: 'If you do good, you might do good,' " Damon adds.
6. Tap the Internet. It's useful not only for job listings but also building networks through tools like LinkedIn and Facebook. "Hiring managers are very comfortable working with online introductions, online referrals," Donovan says. Some job-seekers have even found positions through Twitter with a "Twesume."
The Internet and global interdependency may actually help speed along the recovery, Damon says. Still, he estimates that surge won't occur for several months.
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