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Job hunting is a challenging task in any environment. Many folks think it's an even harder task during a recession. But that's not precisely true because all of the job hunting strategies and techniques required of the professional job changer remain the same in any climate. However, the process is quite likely to take longer because of the reduced number of job targets due to layoffs and the overall unemployment rate. And though working at any challenging task for an extended period of time is nobody's idea of fun, it does not necessarily mean that the task itself is harder. It just requires more patience, more creativity, and more endurance.

This might seem like I'm splitting hairs. I'm not. What I'm doing is letting the air out of some of the myths that surround job-hunting during a recession. Some of these myths are perpetuated by the media eager to fill air space regardless of content quality. Some are hyped by the so-called career experts who suddenly pop up in a recession. Others are passed on by discouraged (or lazy) job hunters who find it easier to affix blame on outside influences than take responsibility for the success of their job hunt.

Over the last 18 months I have worked with a number of career coaching clients who have succeeded by not buying into many of the current job hunting myths. I will share their findings below. If you have discovered any other job-hunting myths please send them along and we'll include them in a future edition.

ยท Myth #1: Nobody is Hiring. This is simply not true. But when experiencing rejection during a job hunt it is easier to say, "no one is hiring" than to say, "I did a lousy job of selling myself." Or "Someone less skilled than me but a better interviewer got the job I should have landed" The statistics are out there for you to see, some new jobs are being created, some old jobs are being refilled and it's the job hunter's task to find them.

Myth #2. Pursuing employers who have a "hiring freeze" or who have had a layoff is a waste of time. This is a hard one to overcome. A recession is a time of change and flux. New needs emerge, some jobs need to be backfilled, and some new jobs are created even in organizations that outwardly look as if they are struggling. An energetic job hunter should pursue every possible target out there and this includes those that are often overlooked by others.

Myth #3. The Internet and social networking sites are the quickest and best ways to find a new job. This is a huge fallacy and, of course, those w/ a vested interest in these sites will debate this. This is because they don't understand the distinction between a job-hunting method and a job-hunting tool. A hammer is a tool but it won't build a house. A resume is a job-hunting tool but it is not a job-hunting technique. Job-hunting methods are (and they have been the same four for a hundred years): responding to published openings, making "cold" contacts, using recruiters and networking. That's all there is - anything else is a variant of one of those. The Internet and some social networking sites are great tools to help you implement all of those methods but by themselves are not the new, quick and easy answers to job-hunting. They are new tools to help address an old and difficult problem.

Myth # 4. I'm over 50 years of age so employers aren't interested in me. In my 30 years of consulting have I found some ageist hiring managers? Yes. Have I found some sexist and racist hiring managers? Yes but in all honesty not very many. Eventually they get found out and fired because they represent a major legal and financial risk or they get fired just by doing a lousy job. What I have seen more of in the last couple of years is a bit of a backlash against hiring younger new employees. Many managers now are struggling with young employees who have a great sense of entitlement, who expect to be promoted easily and quickly even if there's no upwards room in the organization, who may be more technologically skilled but less inter-personally skilled and those who expect to be rewarded for effort versus results.

The over 50 employee who can communicate his/ her transferable skills, work habits, work ethic and a sense of being able to calmly handle the predictable ups and downs of business have great opportunities in this job market.

Myth #5. My superior (fill in the blank) will protect me in this recession. Your background, resume, track record, network, or whatever other strong attributes you possess are great tools in your toolbox but they do not constitute a safety net. This theory of entitlement or feeling of false security is equally applicable to people of all ages. I regret that the new modality is "what have you done for me lately" but that is the fact. Your job, your employer, your industry and the entire world are all changing faster than ever before. It is your job to be constantly developing your skills, your talents, broadening your interests and driving your career development. If you don't you may well be left behind. But, if you do, there are a multitude of yet unknown and unexplored opportunities for you to discover.

Courtesy of Dr. Paul Powers
[email protected]