We hate to admit it, but there's a really good chance that even with all the right tools, your first round of resumes might very well end up in the back of a filing cabinet, or in a plastic bin next to the interviewer you thought you charmed. But you don't learn without trying, and having your first efforts to switch positions fail gives you time, and some real data, to reflect on what you can change for the next batch. Read on for some of the better advice we've seen for rebuilding a job search and narrowing your targets. Photo by taiyofj.
Work the crowd you're in
The New York Times' career columnist Marci Alboher wrote that when you're expecting to be laid off, focusing on your job's positives and thanking those you work with can pay off in references and leads. If you're feeling hopelessly trapped in a gig, you can use the same tactics to deliver unexpected compliments, thank those who helped you get to where you are, and work back on your most-connected contacts. Set a deadline for yourself, as if your job is truly ending on, say, the last of the month, and work the crowd as much as you can without giving away your hunger to leave. Photo by Andyrob.
Boost your look without breaking the bank
Getting a new, sharp suit can invigorate your job search—you can be (at least mentally) a totally new person in new threads. As career advice columnist Penelope Trunk has suggested, great suits cost a lot because they sit nicely on your frame, and the fabric doesn't wrinkle. But a suit you'll likely only wear to an important interview and a family event or two doesn't have to cap your credit card. If you can find a trust-worthy tailor, a decent-looking but cheap suit can fit the bill:
Since you are having your cheap fabric tailored, it will lay well on your body. And if you don't sit a lot before the interview, it won't wrinkle: Voila, an expensive suit that wasn't expensive.
Besides, if you're wearing a just-bought suit that you were uncomfortable spending so much cash on, you'll probably look uncomfortable when you're on the interview. Photo by A Continuous Lean.
Start a blog
No, seriously—it can work. Blogger (and occasional interviewer) Adam Dorowski's suggestion that the blog is the new resume isn't empty Web 2.0 hype. You can't just send the permalinks along to your prospective boss and wait for the benefits package, but it's a subtle way to move into a new direction or show off talents you don't get to explore in your current gig, and it shows off those basic office skills of clear thought and communication:
Blogging is the perfect way for a candidate to give an employer a more detailed sales pitch—to show they can "talk the talk" (as opposed to just fill a resume with buzzwords). I can't think of a reason for any serious tech professional to not have a blog. Not only does it serve as an excellent notebook for storing ideas and links, but it can come in handy in a job hunt where what interviewers really want to just know what, professionally (and somewhat personally), engages you on a day to day basis.
In other words, blog as if you were already doing what you'd love to do, and it'll show when your prospective employer hits the hyperlink.
Get back to the ground floor
As many of our commenters suggested when asked how to score a dream job, you might not be able to make a lateral move into the company or career that invigorates you, but if you're willing to intern on weekends, start at a lower-paying scale, or even head back to school to pick up a few skills and credits the employer might appreciate, it can go a long way toward showing you're committed to more than just a nice salary. And as we've mentioned before, seeking out people in a specific company or holding the title you want to one day have and getting as much information as you can about how they got there—without digging through their trash, of course—pays off. Knowing what you have to do, even if it means backtracking a bit, is a lot more helpful than wondering what you didn't</em do.
That's just our take, of course. What helped you get back into the game and into the right job if you were initially rejected, or just fell off the application habit? Hit us with your story in the comments.