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Job Search Tips

Receive helpful advice on how to effectively market yourself for a new job.

How to Bounce Back from a Layoff

by Kevin Donlin

If you've been laid off -- or are facing the prospect -- you know how tough it can be to re-enter this job market.

So, how can you stand out and compete effectively for a new job?

Here are four ways, one of which will surprise you ...

1) Answering the $64,000 question -- Why you?

Your biggest challenge in finding a new job may be credibility, according to Rick Maurer, author, "Why Don't You Want What I Want?".

"Why should I hire you when there are so many candidates with experience and credentials?" That's the question going through many employers' minds.

"My single best piece of advice is to put yourself in the shoes of the person who's hiring. What does the world look like through their eyes? What might they be afraid of if they hire you? Finding answers to these 'unasked' questions can lead to your next job," advises Maurer.

2) Build a "brag book"

Any job will require you to submit a resume that's clear, concise and focused on results.

But don't stop there, according to Paul Richard DiModica, President of DigitalHatch, Inc., a sales training and consulting firm.

DiModica suggests you build an experience portfolio of what you have done and then bind it like a book to give to employers.

What to include? Try employer awards, technology certifications, articles written about you and examples your business successes.

This method has produced breakthrough results for years. The reason why is shockingly simple: very few job seekers take the time to assemble a knockout brag book. But when you're laid off, time is something you definitely do have ... so make the most of it!

3) Network smart

When it comes to networking -- that most effective and over-looked of job search techniques -- it's crucial to first know what you want, according to Dr. Beverly Kaye, President of Scranton, Pa.-based Career Systems International.

"The starting point is having an objective -- a clear sense of what you are after. A scattered approach to networking will leave you with a pocketful of names and no clear plan of action," says Kaye.

And be sure to observe the Golden Rule.

"All serious networking is reciprocal. People who devote time and energy to you deserve something in return, so you need to find ways to give back," suggests Kaye.

Make an effort to pay others back for networking help. Because success in networking -- and in life -- is a two-way street.

4) Throw a book at them

You can set yourself apart from other job seekers by sending a $30 book to the employers you want an interview with, according to DiModica.

"The business book you send -- preferably a best-seller -- should be based on the industry you want to work in. Inside the book, write: 'I saw this and thought you might find it intriguing,' then sign your name and telephone number. Call the recipient two days later, say that you're the person who sent the book and ask to meet for 20 minutes," advises DiModica.

This method works, if for no other reason than the book recipient feels a sense of obligation to you for the unexpected gift. And it's the kind of creative, proactive job search tactic that just may be the ticket in this economy.

Here's hoping these four tips help you recover quickly from a layoff, or avoid one altogether.

Kevin Donlin owns and operates Guaranteed Resumes. Since 1995, he has provided resumes, cover letters and online job-search assistance to clients. He is the author of The Last Guide to Cover Letter & Resume Writing You'll Ever Need, a do-it-yourself manual with sample cover letters and resumes.