It’s hard enough to job hunt in a thriving economy, but now, even the heartiest job seeker may be inclined to roll over and catch a few more z’s rather than hit the streets.

Don’t quit looking before you start. Job hunting requires you to pull out all the stops and take the basics to a new level. You truly have to work it.

Ironically, the challenge of a tighter job market may work for many job seekers by forcing them to think of new approaches. It all boils down to attitude, stresses executive recruiter Diane Barowsky, president of Barowsky Search Partners Ltd. in Olympia Fields, Illinois. “We underestimate the importance of that positive attitude, but that’s what gets you through the day,” she says.

Gain confidence by asking yourself, “What do I have to lose?”

“It’s easier to take a risk and call that intimidating contact when you feel [this way],” says Barowsky. “On the flip side, when things are going well, you don’t need to do anything to keep your job going.”

Barowsky also offers the following job search advice:

  • Expand Your Search

    If you’re a general administrative assistant but you’ve always wanted to get into human resources, for instance, now’s the time to give it a shot. Find out what skills are needed in the area you want to shift into, and then match your experience with those requirements. Transfer the experience you have into another area.


  • Be the Problem Solver

    Pick five companies you’ve heard good things about and do research to get a feel for them. Then see if there is any tie between what they are trying to do and what you have done in the past.

    Once you figure out this connection, contact the hiring manager and present yourself as someone who can help solve the company’s problems. If you can identify the company’s business issues and then persuade the hiring manager you can help the company with them, you will ultimately get hired.

    It’s best to tie your presentation to numbers or other results when possible. Say something like, “I want to work for you. Here is what I can do for you and where my skills complement yours. I’m the best researcher you’ll ever find. I can save you X amount of time completing your proposals.”


  • Keep Up with Business Trends

    Start expanding your information repertoire. You’ve never picked up a Wall Street Journal? Now’s the time to get savvy about which companies are doing well. Besides, ignorance never pays off.


  • Volunteer and Expand Your Network

    Perhaps you’ve been meaning to volunteer at the local children’s hospital, zoo or museum. Now’s the time. In addition to feeling better about yourself, you’ll meet new people you would never have come across before. And people know people who know people who can help you get a job, so let everyone you come in contact with know you’re job hunting. And who knows? Maybe a full-time position will open up at the organization for which you’re volunteering.

Just remember that it only takes a few steps to open new doors and avenues. Be creative in how you approach your job hunt.