How to Land a Dream Job in a Recession

Last Updated Mar 25, 2010 11:28 AM EDT

Job SearchWhether you're looking for work or trying to land your dream job, don't let the recession stop you. Jobs are out there and you can get one of them. Don't believe me? Well, it's true. It won't be like falling off a log by any stretch, but that's just the way it is these days.

Easy for me to say? Not exactly. You see, there was a big recession back in the early 90s, and yours truly managed to get laid off. After a month I was still loving sleeping in and spending days at the beach. After three months rejection became a way of life and mild depression set in. At five months, I was nearly out of cash and entering the realm of extreme panic.

In fact, our mortgage was underwater, meaning the house was worth less than we owed. Does any of this sound at all familiar? Yeah, I thought so.
The real problem was that I was a sales executive and there were no sales jobs. So I set my sites on marketing, although I sort of wasn't qualified. To make matters worse, southern California, where I lived, was hard hit by the recession, so I focused my search on the bay area.

The Internet had yet to become a one-stop-shop for classified ads, so I found a local shop that sold newspapers from all over, and started buying the San Jose Mercury News. That's where I found it, an ad for director of marketing at a company I recognized, OPTi.

As luck would have it, my last company and OPTi shared the same manufacturer's rep firm in the bay area, and they had brokered a meeting between us some months before. I knew OPTi was flush with cash from a recent IPO and expanding rapidly. That was the good news.

Unfortunately, the job called for an MBA and experience I didn't have. That was the bad news. Still, I had confidence and desperation on my side. I needed that job. I was sure it was my ticket out of this mess. So I sent in my resume and referenced our prior meeting in the cover letter. Then I called the rep firm and asked them to put in a good word for me.

Lo and behold, I landed an interview.

Long story short, I got on a plane and met with the hiring VP. He wasted no time calling attention to my lack of qualifications, so I pulled out all the stops and sold him like my life depended on it, which is very much how I felt. I still don't know how, but about nine interviews later, I got the job. That eventually led to a VP offer at a high-visibility company and, well, the rest is history.

The point of the story is this. If you want something bad enough, or even if you're desperate enough, you can succeed. It's anything but a slam dunk and most of the time you'll meet with crushing defeat, but eventually the law of averages or Karma or whatever kicks in and you're in fat city again.

But you have to be willing to jump through all kinds of hoops, just as I did. That's because the business world heavily favors those who never stop fighting and will do anything short of selling their family into slavery to achieve their goals and dreams. So stay focused, be diligent, never give up, and you'll survive. Even in a recession like this one.

Also check out: 10 Ways to Land that Big Job Promotion
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