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How to Find (and Keep) a Job

In today’s wacky economy, there are no guarantees. Here are the new rules of employment, from experts who know best.

By Amanda Armstrong and Carlos Greer
Job Ad: Wanted somewhere to go from 9 to 5 Burcu Avsar

3. If I take a lesser job to get back on my feet, will I ever regain the career success I once had?

The goal for anyone who is unemployed right now is to be working, even if that means taking a lower-ranking position and less pay, says Ben Dattner, an industrial and organizational psychologist. “Having somewhere to go and something to do is important for your emotional well-being.” (Not to mention your financial well-being.) When the economy turns around, the experts say, prospective employers are more likely to look at your career as a whole, not focus on what you did during the recession. In the meantime, you may have to “get humble,” says Jodi Glickman Brown, the president of Great on the Job, a New York City–based career-consulting company, “and be willing to do more for less to be a top earner in the future.”

4. I’ve been offered a position at another company. How can I tell if it’s a risky move?

Research the new business before quitting your current position. Industries such as health care and education have traditionally been considered recession-proof. (And since President Barack Obama has focused on them as key areas for reform, they have the potential for even more job growth.) But there are no guarantees. If your would-be employer is a large, publicly traded corporation, you’ll have no trouble finding information on its stock price, bond rating, and overall financial health on its website. (Revenue growth is a good indicator.) But also check out the status of its clients. “If they’re in trouble, there’s a good chance any business that serves them will hurt soon, too,” says economist Lakshman Achuthan, the managing director of the Economic Cycle Research Institute, an independent business-forecasting organization in New York City. If the company is smaller, ask around to find out if its vendors are being paid; search the local paper or Google News for articles reporting layoffs or financial struggles at the firm. But don’t assume that a company that has recently shed staff is untouchable, says Viscusi: “If they’ve cut back so much that they need one or two people back, that’s a good sign.”

Read More About:Job & Career

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