Dear J.T. & Dale: After six years of working in my field, I decided to go back to school for a master’s degree. After earning my degree, I took a “temporary” job (contract work – dead-end and underpaid) to fill any holes in my resume. That was a year ago, and working full time has not left much time to mount a serious job search. My question is, Is it better to quit in order to re-dedicate myself to a search, or to remain employed and hope for the best? - Scott
J.T.: As a career coach, I cannot, in good conscience, advise you to quit your job to look for a new one. The average search takes nine months or more, and there are studies showing that unemployed people are discriminated against in competing for jobs. Unless you have the means to be out of work for a year, keep the temporary job.
DALE: Which takes you right back to the conundrum of looking for work while being busy working. The first thing to do is to turn your current job into a networking vortex by being The Most Curious Guy On the Planet. Meet all the co-workers and suppliers you can, and find out where they’ve worked and who they might know. Then, learn to turn your lunches and breaks into job search time.
J.T.: Ideally, you can find three two-hour blocks of time each week. Then create an Interview Bucket List of companies in your area that hire people with your skill set. Research these firms, and set up Google Alerts to keep current. Finally, turn to your Curious Guy networking efforts, along with social media, to meet people in those companies. Set up meetings, establish rapport and keep in touch. That way, you’ll have a shot at being among the first to hear about new job openings. If you focus on these steps, I think you’ll find a new role without risking the cost of unemployment.
© 2012 by King Features Syndicate, Inc.
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