Don’t Let Your Job Search Stagnate!

By Alesia Benedict, CPRW, JCTC –

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The US Department of Labor provides direction for your job search as they report on a number of areas actually experiencing growth despite overall stagnation in the market.

The private sector is trending upward, while government jobs reflect a downturn.

Health care employment continues to rise, particularly in ambulatory services.

Employment in professional and business services has increased, but the majority of that has been temporary help services. It is not always negative to look in the temporary field – sometimes doing so can create the “foot-in-the-door” phenomenon.

Leisure and hospitality have shown increases, with the highest growth in food services and drinking establishments. Although we’ll leave most of the editorial comments aside, just remember there is always the opportunity for a bit of “escapism” in challenging times.

Mining employment continues its upward trend, smaller than in some of the other areas, but if you live in a part of the country where this is a growth industry, you have an opportunity right in front of you.

Manufacturing employment has changed little since early in the spring, as has wholesale, trade, retail, transportation, warehousing, information, and financial activities – your efforts are probably better placed elsewhere.

Changes attributable to seasonal changes include losses in construction and the end of temporary census positions. Local governments have seen decreases across education and non-education jobs. Save your energy by avoiding these slow or no-growth areas!

Use local social networking

Libraries are enjoying a renewed vigor in their role as a resource in the job search process. Traditionally libraries have been a source of information, but are becoming increasingly important in building communities. Start a local job club at the library, a coffeehouse, or even the Chamber of Commerce – invite retired workers and younger workers alike. Brainstorm strategies and make connections at the same time!

Although it may seem counter-intuitive to join a professional organization when you are out of work, this may be the best time to get involved. You may have more time to take an active role in a national or regional organization – like the Chamber of Commerce, Kiwanis or Rotary Club. Not only will you be making new contacts, but a positive by-product of this type of involvement is it can simply help you feel more confident, which will always boost your job search.

Some of the other advantages for getting involved in professional organizations at this point in your career include greater flexibility in your schedule, greater motivation to be involved in meaningful activities, and the always-critical networking.

Opportunity favors the prepared mind – Pasteur

I love this paraphrase of a quote by Pasteur. With a little preparation, you will be ready for opportunities! How, you may be asking? Planning is almost always the answer. Networking can help with those unexpected opportunities – the inevitable serendipity of a job search. But planning is one of those skills that is transferable – not just from one job to the next, but within your own job search, too.

This post has identified a couple of areas for planning – market areas that are ripe for growth and local networking. The library was mentioned as another resource. Use the library’s numerous subscriptions to regional and national newspapers to explore trends closer to home. What companies are undergoing changes? Are municipalities breaking ground on new retail centers, research or think tanks? Being a sleuth, whether online or in the old-fashioned newspapers, may give you a clue to new opportunities in your area.

If you are thinking of switching careers, use the library again to learn about position requirements for those new fields. There is always the old standard – the DOT or Dictionary of Occupational Titles available in the reference section of most libraries. Another classic title is “What Color is Your Parachute?” Although originally designed for job seekers earlier in their careers, the series has been expanded to provide more tips for people at various stages of employment seeking.

Finally, comb the calendar or bulletin board at the library. As noted, many libraries are branching out to offer a wider range of services through workshops, listings of reference sources similar to those discussed earlier, or possibly regional agencies available to assist with tangible job search assistance. Even though you may not be looking for temporary employment, some temporary agencies do have a finger on the pulse of the local business community and may be able to help point you in the right direction.

Focus on Your Strengths

In the next phase of your “plan”, focus on your strengths. You may start by brainstorming a comprehensive list of every talent you have. Even if the skill seems completely unrelated to your job search, such as your avocation in handling dogs with the local animal rescue group – include it! The first list should include everything – if it makes you smile, that’s a little bonus in the process.

After compiling an exhaustive list, begin to pare down to skills that more closely match your current job search. Determine how you can maximize your strengths from seemingly unrelated areas to incorporate into a current job search.

About the Author: Alesia Benedict, Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW) and Job and Career Transition Coach (JCTC) is the President of, the country’s leading resume writing firm. They provide professionals with customized, branded resumes and career marketing documents. Her and her firm’s credentials include being cited by JIST Publications as one of the “best resume writers in North America,” quoted as a career expert in The Wall Street Journal, and published in a whopping 25+ career books. Established in 1994, the firm has aided more than 100,000 job seekers to date. All resume writers are certified writers. offers a free resume critique and their services come with a wonderful guarantee — interviews in 30 days or they’ll rewrite for free!