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Options for job seeker who's been hunting a while

Posted by Elaine Varelas  March 30, 2011 10:00 AM

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Q. I have been in job hunt mode for over two years. After a year and a half of no luck on full time positions, I turned my attention to finding part-time work as a CFO. I find my new contacts (Banks, CPA's, Insurance co's) are reluctant to recommend some one they don't have a past relationship with. I'm back looking at full time work while still pushing the part time work which is really messing me up (am I looking for part time or full time). Any suggestions?

A. Long term job searches offer enormous emotional challenges to job seekers and their families. Changing strategy, revising targets and resumes, and generally second guessing everything you do is often the methodology of long term job seekers.

The type of position you are seeking, full time or part time, isn't that significant of an issue. Your target position can continue to be a full time role, and old and new networking contacts will have no difficulty understanding why you would consider part time roles until the right full time opportunity surfaces. You might say "I am looking for a full time CFO role utilizing my skills in (name two or three key areas). I am also looking for part time opportunities to help organizations with interim needs in finance while I continue my search."

Getting your "new" contacts to support your search is the more important issue. Part of all successful job searches involves relying on old contacts as part of a strong network, and developing new contacts as you gather information, and introduce yourself into the marketplace. The strength of the old relationships can help you develop strong relationships with new contacts that are comfortable referring you to other people, and other opportunities.

If this is not the case, you need to review your networking activity in terms of who you are contacting, who is referring you, the amount of activity you are conducting, (a good goal is five face-to-face meetings a week) the conversation itself, how you offer to help the contact, and the follow up or follow through you need to act on. Each point in this list can derail your search. If you are concerned about your effectiveness in any area here, consider working with a career coach to develop your skills.

You may want to expand your options to contract and interim in addition to full time roles. Search professionals will understand the logic of expanding the kinds of roles you are looking into, and as long as you can commit to a time frame for a contract or interim role you should be considered.

Continue the search; perhaps volunteer for a non profit, or community group in a finance role; consider expanding your industry targets; join a job search support group; is your geographic target broad enough? And how many networking meetings have you had? Shoot for 250 great meetings, and stay positive.

This blog is not written or edited by or the Boston Globe.
The author is solely responsible for the content.

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Meet the Jobs Docs

Patricia Hunt Sinacole is president of First Beacon Group LLC, a human resources consulting firm in Hopkinton. She works with clients across many industries including technology, biotech and medical devices, financial services, and healthcare, and has over 20 years of human resources experience.

Elaine Varelas is managing partner at Keystone Partners, a career management firm in Boston and serves on the board of Career Partners International.

Cindy Atoji Keene is a freelance journalist with more than 25 years experience. E-mail her directly here.

Peter Post is the author of "The Etiquette Advantage in Business." Email questions about business etiquette to him directly here.

Stu Coleman, a partner and general manager at WinterWyman, manages the firm's Financial Contracting division, and provides strategic staffing services to Boston-area organizations needing Accounting and Finance workforce solutions and contract talent.

Tracy Cashman is Senior Vice President and Partner of the Information Technology search division at WinterWyman. She has 20 years of experience partnering with clients in the Boston area to conduct technology searches in a wide variety of industries and technology.

Paul Hellman is the founder of Express Potential, which specializes in executive communication skills. He consults and speaks internationally on how to capture attention & influence others. Email him directly here.