Real Life Lessons from Someone Who Left A Job In “This Economy”

Back in July, when I announced to my friends and family that I was looking for a new job, many of them responded like so:  “Leaving your job?” they gasped, “in this economy?”

This economy has become the national catchphrase.  It’s used as a replacement for actual discussion of the complicated economic crisis we’re in and/or slowly climbing out of and/or setting up shop in, depending on who you’re speaking to.

This economy  is used by the local news to explain almost everything.  Bumper to bumper traffic on the beltway?  This Economy.  A mayor sexually harasses a woman and gets away with it?  This economy.  A bear breaks into a local woman’s kitchen?  This economy let him in.  

This economy has transformed into the formal equivalent of “HOLD! Whatever you are doing, don’t change anything.  A bunch of old dudes in Washington are working on it.  Do not move.

But things weren’t changing for me a few months ago, and stasis didn’t seem like a smart option.

So I started looking for jobs.  And I found one.  And I adore it.  I work for a company that, despite this economy, is rapidly growing, treating its employees with respect and rewarding them with awesome perks and fantastic benefits.

Of course, job searching in this economy is tough.  It reminded me of dating: lots of pointless searching followed by rejection, and also the internet is there.  But I did end up with a wonderful job.

Here’s how I did it:

  1. I made applying for a job my second full-time job.  All job applications, all the time.  I forced myself out of bed at 5:30 every morning, applied to jobs until I went to work, and spent most of the evening doing the same.  Between July 29th and September 28th, I applied to almost 100 jobs, and wound up with a grand total of 7 interview requests.  I actually interviewed with 4 companies (declined the other interviews), and received 3 job offers.
  2. I cleaned up and developed my online identity.  I un-tagged Facebook bikini shots, updated my LinkedIn profile, and started tweeting.  I used Twitter wisely, to direct traffic to my blog and become involved in the marketing/social media/writing portion of the Twittersphere.  I also followed my potential employers on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn to learn more about how they used social media and casually (or not) mentioned it during my interviews.
  3. I tried to stand out with innovative resume additions, like a link to my blog, links to my stories on The Daily Muse, and a Prezume.

I wouldn’t consider myself an expert, but I would encourage anyone out there that’s looking for a job to leverage social media and online tools as much as possible.  With so many people on the job market, it’s important to show your creativity and separate yourself from the masses.