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How to keep your chin up during the job search

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Bob Moon: Dig deep into this week’s good employment numbers and you’ll find some bad news: The number of people who’ve just given up actually rose last month. In our ongoing series, The Job Chronicles, job counselor Belinda Dowdy has some tips on how to keep going, even when you want to just throw in the towel.

Belinda Dowdy: I’ve coached more than 6,000 job-seekers in the last 10 years: Downsized executives, workers whose factories closed down, MBA students, people returning to school to train for new careers.

The principles are the same for everyone: Activity breeds income. You have to take risks to find a job. Get out and meet people. Ask about their work and their careers. Get over the idea that networking is “using people”. Friends and family helping you is the best way to find a job — and people want to help.

You’d be surprised who can answer your questions. I worked with a welder who lost his job. He went back to school. Then he went door to door in Siler City to every business that might need welders. He told them, “Hi. I’ve been welding for 20 years. I’ve just earned my certification at Wake Tech, so I know all the new techniques. Do you need welders? Do you know someone who does?” He was so personable and friendly that people wanted to help him. He found a job in three weeks, and met a lot of people along the way.

Tell everyone you know what kind of work you are looking for. Listen to other people’s advice. Be prepared for an interview every day. Have your interview clothes ready. Be able to answer questions about your skills and experience and how you can benefit the company you are talking to.

Follow up with people you talked with earlier. Keep in touch and share your news. Sooner or later, someone will tell you about a good job opening. Everything you learn will help you compete for it.

When you get the job, thank everyone who helped you. And then when they need your help, give that help generously.

Moon: Belinda Dowdy is a business and career coach in central North Carolina. You’ll find other installments of The Job Chronicles on our website.

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