8 tips to finding your way in a down economy

On Facebook, URB Mag publisher and HuffPo columnist, Ray Roker, posted this:

Raymond Leon Roker: “Dear unemployed person, I feel for you, but the job you used to have doesn’t exist anymore. No time to complain or whine about the “economy.” You simply… Must. Learn. New. Shit.”

Learning is critical in today’s job market. Here are some of the things I did to keep myself busy while seeking new employment.

1. I launched WordPress Westchester using Meetup.com to promote myself and my colleagues as WordPress experts. I’ve gotten a few clients through this method of self promotion.

2. Launched a Digital Media consulting company, Digital Strategy Works. The website is tied to Facebook and Twitter, and I am actively utilizing this resource for self-promotion and marketing…. See More

3. Hired an intern to help me promote and market DSW. There are plenty of young people who want to network and need experience. Even if you only need them 6 to 10 hours a week, it’s enough to help you get your message out and start drumming up some business.

4. Volunteered to help build and manage a website for the National Museum of Hip-Hop. It was a ton of work, but keeping with the project gave the impression to others that I was busy working on something important. People like to work with people who are busy. If you sit around sending out resumes and hoping that someone is going to call you, they might, but what’s more important is to stay visible in your field. Giving away your skills for free isn’t easy, but it will show others that you are committed and that you can execute with nothing more than an idea.

5. Find public speaking opportunities and look in other markets. Don’t be afraid to move to where you are needed, instead of beating your head against the wall in a major metro area. There is growth in other markets, you just need to be willing to look and move. While I am building WordPress Westchester, I looked for other opportunities to speak about my experiences with WordPress. When Wordcamp Raleigh came around a few months ago, I put together a presentation (available on my Slideshare.net account) and asked to speak. While there, I checked out the area, networked with a few web shops, and voila…got a client I am now doing a project for. In addition, that turned into a job opportunity. I sat down next to someone at lunch at the conference, made sure to say hello to him and ask him where he’s from and what he’s doing. That conversation turned into a job offer from the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill. I’m moving in a month. I know it’s not easy to uproot your family, especially those with children in school, but you also can’t keep killing yourself in the same place if opportunities do not exist where you are, or the competition is driving you out of the market.

6. Make sure you have the best resume and cover letter, but keep things short and to the point. Try as best you can to not take it personal when a recruiter or hiring manager passes you over. It’s their problem, not yours. If you believe you are the most talented person for the job, maybe you are, but in a competitive market, maybe you’re not. Like Raymond says, you’ve got to learn new skills. How do you do that with little income? It’s called the Library. There are a ton of free meetups now. And, you can intern for others while you look. Make yourself useful, make an impact, and you will find what you are looking for.

7. Time. This all takes time. It can take 6 months to a year to reinvigorate your career, but I am living proof that you can leave your job in the worst economy in decades, start a consulting company, pick up clients, and even get a job. How did I do it? I kept busy and focused on the goal. It was so hard, to the point of tears and arguments at home, but in the end it all worked itself out.

8. I went back to school to get my degree in Digital Communications and Media from New York University. Graduated May 09. It’s never too late to go back to school and cement your skills.

11 comments

    • djtonyz says:

      Thanks, Glen. It wasn’t easy what I just went through. I have a ton of debt in student loans. Leaving my job in the worst economy in decades was very difficult, but my girlfriend thought that I could do better and I did. It takes dogged determination and self-motivation to do what I did. We all have it in us, we just have to find it. I will admit, it helps to have a partner who will pick up the slack, pay some bills, and help do what it takes to help you. If I didn’t have my girlfriend in this struggle, it would have been 10-times harder. A relationship can be the critical link to successfully pull off a career change or job search. Two is sometimes better than one. I’m not saying it’s absolutely necessary, just helpful, that’s all.

  1. djtonyz says:

    Thanks, Glen. It wasn't easy what I just went through. I have a ton of debt in student loans. Leaving my job in the worst economy in decades was very difficult, but my girlfriend thought that I could do better and I did. It takes dogged determination and self-motivation to do what I did. We all have it in us, we just have to find it. I will admit, it helps to have a partner who will pick up the slack, pay some bills, and help do what it takes to help you. If I didn't have my girlfriend in this struggle, it would have been 10-times harder. A relationship can be the critical link to successfully pull off a career change or job search. Two is sometimes better than one. I'm not saying it's absolutely necessary, just helpful, that's all.

  2. Wildscribe says:

    Excellent post! You are so correct… the best way to find a new job is to keep busy and circulate around people. Amazing things seem to happen at conferences too. You hooked up with the right person. It’s much more than luck. Thank you for sharing your experience. It has inspired me.

    • djtonyz says:

      Thanks so much for your comment. I did connect with the right person. But, I went to Raleigh with an intent to network. Before I left NYC, I did my homework and connected with the folks at OnWired in Cary and Neural9 in Durham. Both shops were open to opportunities. Now, I’m wireframing a project for OnWired and I met the Mark from Neural9 on Saturday for coffee in Durham. We now have a relationship. That’s what it’s all about. You have to get out there and connect with folks that are doing something. But in order to have them take you seriously, you have to do things yourself too. Publishing my blogs, starting DSW, and keeping in the game shows others you know what you are doing. They can then have confidence that you’re a hard worker, that you show up, and that you because others are using you for things, they can trust to use you too. Networking, for me, is the number one way I get business and opportunities. I do market a bit here and there, but I don’t have a budget yet to support that, nor do I have the staff, so I don’t want to grow too fast. Given the fact that I’m going to work full-time now for UNC, I guess I won’t have to worry much about that, but I will still get calls and pass them on to my people who have supported me throughout this journey. Good luck to you.

  3. Wildscribe says:

    Excellent post! You are so correct… the best way to find a new job is to keep busy and circulate around people. Amazing things seem to happen at conferences too. You hooked up with the right person. It's much more than luck. Thank you for sharing your experience. It has inspired me.

  4. djtonyz says:

    Thanks so much for your comment. I did connect with the right person. But, I went to Raleigh with an intent to network. Before I left NYC, I did my homework and connected with the folks at OnWired in Cary and Neural9 in Durham. Both shops were open to opportunities. Now, I'm wireframing a project for OnWired and I met the Mark from Neural9 on Saturday for coffee in Durham. We now have a relationship. That's what it's all about. You have to get out there and connect with folks that are doing something. But in order to have them take you seriously, you have to do things yourself too. Publishing my blogs, starting DSW, and keeping in the game shows others you know what you are doing. They can then have confidence that you're a hard worker, that you show up, and that you because others are using you for things, they can trust to use you too. Networking, for me, is the number one way I get business and opportunities. I do market a bit here and there, but I don't have a budget yet to support that, nor do I have the staff, so I don't want to grow too fast. Given the fact that I'm going to work full-time now for UNC, I guess I won't have to worry much about that, but I will still get calls and pass them on to my people who have supported me throughout this journey. Good luck to you.

  5. francis says:

    I don’t even know how I ended up here, but I thought this post was great. I do not know who you are but definitely you're going to a famous blogger if you are not already πŸ˜‰ Cheers!

  6. francis says:

    I don’t even know how I ended up here, but I thought this post was great. I do not know who you are but definitely you’re going to a famous blogger if you are not already πŸ˜‰ Cheers!

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