For anyone on the verge of unemployment or thinking about a job change during these volatile economic times, don't burn those bridges. Networking continues to be the top tactic for landing a new position, outpacing other strategies like the Internet and newspaper ads, according to a global economic trends report by workplace consulting firm, Drake Beam Morin, New York. The report shows that 66 percent of dbm clients found new jobs last year via networking, while just 6 percent landed them through the Internet.
Tom Silveri, ceo of dbm, says that job seekers should rely less on networking exclusively within their known areas of expertise and more on directional networking, in which their focus is to gather information on new industries and job functions. Job seekers can then use this information to decide how their skill sets may be transferred to jobs they had never considered. "In a richer job market, people tend to seek only opportunities in which they have direct experiences," says Silveri. "Today, however, people need to broaden their searches."
Widening the net, though, requires a greater degree of patience among job seekers. dbm consultants indicated that today's average job search length is increasing from last year's length of 3.1 months. "As corporate layoffs show no sign of ceasing, job seekers and companies alike are faring as best they can during these slowing economic times," Silveri says. "Job seekers are more savvy and open-minded in their searches. They are exercising greater patience and are generally accepting that it's taking longer to secure a new job than it was a year ago. Fueling their wait is the extra caution companies are taking with their workforce decisions, whether it's making additional reductions or hiring new staff."
Aside from looking for employment outside of their obvious skills zone, job seekers are also settling for less lucrative positions in order to secure work, a strategy that hasn't been seen for some time. dbm recruitment consultants said that 80 percent of job seekers are "sometimes" accepting salaries and/or titles below what they expected; 13 percent indicated this is happening "often." —J.B.