Low-risk ways to get a betterjob without jumping ship
Low-risk ways to get a betterjob without jumping ship
Finding a job in today’s economy is difficult. Simply searching for a job opportunity is tough enough. Throw in the dreaded job interview and difficult becomes downright stressful.

With the job market the downerit is, there's a certain amount of pressure to stay in your current positioneven if you're not happy. But rather than fuming in your cubicle about your dissatisfaction,there are ways to empower yourself without sending out your resume. Here's howto put out your feelers, amp up your skills, and meet the right people so whenthe time comes to move on, you're more than ready.

 Get  specific

 The most low-risk way to thinkabout your next career step is something you can even do at your desk: make alist. What is it about your job that you like? What aspects give you a sense ofaccomplishment? Which leave you feeling depleted? Are the hours great but thework soulless? Do you feel like you're helping people but the pay barely coversyour expenses? Like your co-workers but find you have to work individually morethan you'd like? Get specific about where there's room for improvement, so thatwhen you see the qualities you're looking for in the next position you'llrecognize them.

 Build your skill set

 Often employers will pay foror subsidize classes that will allow their employees to bring top-notch design,copy-editing or computer skills to the office. Think about certifications thatmight make you a more attractive candidate or certain skills you need to brushup on or areas where you could use some improvement (spreadsheets, anyone?).You'll meet people in related fields, gain some extra confidence, and have aconcrete skill set to add to your resume.


 Is there an organization doinggreat work that you'd love to be a part of? Start your work on a volunteerbasis. You'll get the inside scoop on job openings and first-hand insight intothe inner-workings of the place. While you're there, though, temporarily shelveyour hopes of getting a job and focus on the work at hand. Ulterior motives canturn people off. Keep your eyes open and ears to the ground, be efficient andenthusiastic. Make a good impression. Even if a position doesn't open up, younow have relevant experience to bring to a similar workplace and an extrarecommendation in your pocket.

 Go on informational interviews

 These aren't just for kidsseeking college admissions. Informational interviews give you a slice of theinsight volunteering affords but without the time commitment. Interviews are agreat way to meet people and bring your presence into their line of view. Whenwork pops up that you'd be a good fit for, they may think of you. And you'vejust added another very valuable contact to your Rolodex.

 Strengthen existingrelationships

 You know those 427 friends onFacebook and legions of connections you've got on LinkedIn? Don't just collectthem like baseball cards. Make contact. Find out where they're working now andif they're happy. Meet for a drink or buy them lunch. Just as withvolunteering, focus on the relationship rather than the end goal. People caneasily sense when they are being pumped for information. In other words, reachout to people you honestly respect, admire, and want to spend time with. Notjust someone whose job you want.

Djohn Jacobs is a college finance columnist for personal finance blog Wise Bread. Follow his latest news on