How To Become Employed With 9.8% Unemployment

9.8% unemployment is the national average. For many states, it is even higher than 9.8%. I live in California and the number has hit double digits. This is true for many other states as well. Regardless of the rate, anyone actively in a job search knows these are difficult times. There is hope, and I believe opportunity, for many of those looking.

We have a very active job search coaching practice. The problem with many candidates we work with is, they come to us too late. They are usually out of work for an average of 4-6 months. They then expect us to be able to help them find work quickly. Sorry, we are good, but can’t work miracles, and nobody (not even us) can get you employed.


But we can help you learn from your mistakes. The biggest problem we find with candidates is that they really don’t have a targeted, very focused approach to their search. Their fear of possibly missing an opportunity is so powerful that they often don’t see the forest for the trees. Our biggest challenge is to help get the candidates focused like a laser beam on a target and then drive to that target. In many cases this is a monumental task.

As the employment numbers get worse, successful candidates must become more and more focused. Companies today aren’t looking for a jack of all trades. They want the king or queen. If you aren’t targeted and highly focused, then it is difficult to land a position.

You have to have a bull’s-eye on the target so you have something to aim at. What is your bull’s-eye?

Here are some suggestions to help you get focused.

  1. Take a step back and think if you were a specialist at something what would it be?
  2. Write out a complete and very thorough job description. Most of the candidates we talk with can’t do this.
  3. Make sure your Linkedin and other public profiles are focused on you as a specialist. Most profiles are generic, vague and cover every possible job function within the person’s discipline.
  4. Identify a specific target list of companies, people, recruiters and service providers that can lead you to your target.
  5. Identify those connectors that can put you in touch with those in number 4.
  6. Identify three or four networking groups that align with your industry, functional expertise, career level, and become very active in those groups. Serve on or chair a committee, get on the board, take a leadership position and become well know in those groups.
  7. Consider serving on non-profit boards. These boards will not only make you feel good, but they often have great contacts and you can demonstrate your leadership skills.
  8. Build a network of 100 people that know you and your background so well that they can refer you with confidence. I use the 5 call rule. If a recruiter from 2,000 miles away is conducting a search in your geographical area  you will be referred within 5 calls.
  9. Don’t ignore your unemployed peers. They are out looking for positions 8 hours a day. The employed aren’t spending any time doing this. Who do you think is more likely to come across a position that is right for you first?
  10. Have the right networking tools to do the job. This includes a bio and networking business cards. Not a resume and business type business cards.
  11. Finally, network with a purpose. Don’t try to meet everyone on the planet. You will only get burned out networking with little to show for it. Meet only those that can advance you toward your target. Be polite and  help others when necessary but pre-screen people before spending time with them.
  12. Use Linkedin to find people and the connectors you need. This is why it is so critical to build your contacts beyond 500.

I don’t mean to imply that doing these things will guarantee you find a position right away. I do believe if you don’t do them you will be in-transition a lot longer than if you do. Having a general, shot gun approach will definitely extend your job search.

Be sure and join our Linkedin Job Search Networking group. This is important. CLICK HERE to join.

Evaluate your job search effectiveness with our Job Search Self-Assessment Scorecard. Find out what you are doing right and what you need to tweak in your job search. As always it is FREE. CLICK HERE.

Please let us know your comments and feedback.

Brad Remillard


About the Author

Brad Remillard is a founding Partner of IMPACT Hiring Solutions, co-author of "You're NOT the Person I Hired", and "This is NOT the Position I Accepted". Brad is an award-winning international speaker, retained executive recruiter, and expert on hiring and retaining top talent, and executive job search.


  • By Mark Baird, October 7, 2009 @ 7:56 pm

    This is pretty good advice. But your second paragraph seems to say that if a person has been unemployed for too long then they’re dead meat.–
    Perhaps you should clarify what you really mean. Or do you really believe that?

    “The problem with many candidates we work with is, they come to us too late. They are usually out of work for an average of 4-6 months…and nobody (not even us) can get you employed.”

  • By Vince Mouer, October 7, 2009 @ 8:17 pm

    What is a “networking business card”?

    Vince M

  • bradremillard

    By bradremillard, October 7, 2009 @ 8:24 pm

    That is not what I mean. To clarify; 1) candidates reach out too late for help, 2) then they expect because they work with a coach they should find a job right away. After all is that what the paid for? That won’t happen. A job search takes time. Had they worked with a coach earlier many of the mistakes often made by candidates that keep them from either finding a position or getting a position could be avoided, 3) candidates should never pay for someone thinking they will get them a job. The only person that can get them a job is themselves. All everyone else can do is coach or help them. If anyone promises by paying them they will find the candidate a job, it is a scam.
    I’m really is trying address the candidate’s expectations if they decide to work with a coach.

  • By Barbara Parks, October 8, 2009 @ 10:05 am

    My approach is to coach a career seeker as if where they are is where they need to be. And that’s where they need the most help!

    You may have the best resume or marketing letter possible but not know who to send it to. You may have the commitment to follow through with a challenging career transition with no idea or direction as to where to start.

    Every jobseeker faces a unique set of challenges in their career search. And it’s really easy to feel stuck and allow inertia to set in. As a career coach, it’s my job to point out their growing edge and lead them to it with a customized tool kit. That’s where we start to see some action!

    I specialize in green careers or career tracks that support a sustainable world and I’m finding that, even as “employment numbers get worse,” there are unlimited possibilities in sustainable industries and market sectors.

    I’ll admit that it does take bold and broad efforts to land a good job in this economy. And making a conscious choice to work with a coach can make a difference in maximizing your time, energy, motivation, and even marketability.

    The basics are the same whether you seek help or not: Start where you are, claim the skills, strengths, and experience you bring to the table, and get out into the community to let people know you’re available.

    Barbara Parks
    founder, career consultant

  • bradremillard

    By bradremillard, October 8, 2009 @ 1:01 pm

    A networking card has additional information about you that a normal business card doesn’t. It may include past companies, functional area, a branding statement, etc. This is so if 6 months after a meeting your card will stand out in the stack of business cards.
    We give two examples of networking business cards in our book, This is NOT the position I accepted. You can take a look at the complete book for just the cost of shipping of $5. Might be worth it if you don’t know about this. It is pretty basic for a job search. Here is the link.

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