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Is it too risky to look for a job now in this economic climate?

It’s a judgment call. If you took no risks at all in life, you’d never leave the house – and even then you could fall down the stairs. If it weren’t for bad luck, some people would have no luck at all. So…what’s an unhappily employed person to do?
First, take a few minutes to think through why you’re wanting to leave. Reasons, alas, abound.
`      a)      You work in the Accounts Payable Department so you can see that your firm has a serious cash flow   problem.
        b)      You work in the Chairman’s Office and you can see that the firm is in d-e-e-p trouble.
        c)       You haven’t had a raise in five years, except perhaps for an increase in number of hours, duties and level of responsibility.
        d)      You work for someone that not even his mother could love. And since he is not going anywhere, it’s time to recognize the fact and move on. He/his/him could equally be she/hers/her. Either way, your position is now untenable.
        e)      A host of other scenarios you could tell me about, but this blog is supposed to help lift your spirits, not drive you to despair.
Right… you’ve decided that, hang the risk, you just HAVE to leave. What can get in your way?
        a)      There aren’t as many jobs out there as there were 20 years ago.
        b)      It’s difficult to interview because of the stupidly long hours you work.
        c)       It’s difficult to interview because you work in the middle of nowhere aka Moose Droppings, New Jersey and you want to work in Manhattan so getting there from work will be a nightmare.  
       d)      It’s difficult to keep your search secret, for whatever reason, so you can’t just be putting your resume onto Monster and hope no-one notices (would rather defeat the purpose of Monster).
        e)      You feel you’re not as good a candidate as the others out there – too old, no 4-year degree, computer skills are horrible. Blah blah blah. GET OVER IT. You’re fabulous. All you need is some coaching from a staffing company consultant to help with your resume and interview technique. This is America. You’re as good as everyone else – learn to recognize how wonderful you are.
What should I look for? This may seem like a Duh? Question but it’s not (well, I hope it’s not…)   
       a)      Be picky. If they ask for specific requirements in an advertisement, use your judgment about how close you are. There’s a bit of latitude written into in job ads, but “A knowledge of Great Plains software is crucial” means don’t waste your/my time applying if you don’t have it. “Preferable but not essential” means just that; if 20 people with Great Plains apply then you’ll be out of luck. If only three apply, and your resume is better than theirs, then they’ll contact you.
       b)      The point is, don’t be applying scatter gun to everything just because you’re desperate to change jobs. You might think that’s an obvious statement but I’m here to tell you that huge numbers of candidates apply for stuff they just couldn’t do in a million years.
How do I make the time off for interview?
Doctor’s appointments, sick days, longer lunch hours, begging the interviewing company to make it as early/late as possible, even taking vacation days (half days if you’re lucky). This is not an easy one, sometimes it’s downright horrendous to do it. You just have to do your best. If it doesn’t work out, then it wasn’t meant to be. And that’s another reason to be picky. You only have so many excuses you can make before your company smells a rat, so make sure it’s a job you’d really quite like before you use up your excuses. And, by the way, if you standardly wear casual to work, you may have to tell the interviewer that you won’t be able to be in Interview Uniform, but you’ll do your best.
You get the job offer but you have qualms about it. Your sensitive gut is telling you something’s not right.
Again, use your judgment. (And if you do accept and wished you hadn’t, don’t despair. Mistakes like that happen in good and bad economies. You just learn from them and  move on). Talk it through with people, think about it carefully. Talk it through with your agency counselor but DO NOT feel pushed into accepting because you have this feeling the counselor is desperate for a fee for placing you! The chances are you had more than one interview before you were hired so you should, with luck, have time on your side, and information on which to base your final decision. But don’t feel you can’t ask for help in deciding.