Trading Places

Inside views on the jobs market

Preparing for the worst while giving thanks

November 27, 2008

Turkey and the trimmings may be some workers’ only comfort this Thanksgiving. With news earlier this week that more than 225,000 jobs may be axed in New York’s already battered financial industry over the next two years, the mood of uncertainty hanging over Wall Street seems unlikely to dissipate anytime soon. Heck, it’s almost enough to make you lose your appetite.

But gloomy projections aside, there’s no shortage of ways to prepare for the worst. Online professional networks are an increasingly popular tool for job-seekers. As Reuters reporter Tarmo Virki writes, “The economic crisis slamming firms across the globe has sparked a spike in usage of professional networks . . . as people hedge against losing work and laid-off employees seek jobs.” Such sites can provide valuable networking opportunities and alert you to new job openings. LinkedIn, the industry’s leader, netted 25 percent more new users in September than expected, and has seen its membership leap to more than 31 million from 18 million at the start of the year.

Meanwhile, the Wall Street Journal reports that other job-seekers are taking a less-virtual approach, going on undercover visits to find out more about potential employers before considering taking on a new position. A couple of the “sleuth tactics” suggested include looking for “evidence that management tries to retain key employees” and “clues to staffing problems, such as employees doing two jobs or fearing layoffs.” After all, what’s the point of taking a new job if there’s a chance you could end up at square one again?

Are you taking an innovative approach to your job search? Share … if you dare.

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