Challenger’s Annual Job-Seeker Call-In: DECEMBER 29-30

Heavy year-end downsizing has brought annual job cuts to over 1,000,000 for the first time since 2005. As more Americans involuntarily enter the job market, the time it takes to find a new position, along with frustration levels, are rising to new highs.

To help job seekers improve their odds of success in the increasingly competitive, recessionary employment market, Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc., will suspend normal business operations on December 29 and 30 to take phone calls from anyone needing job-search advice.

The annual two-day national job search call-in will run from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Central Standard Time both days. The telephone number is 312-332-5790.

Planned job cuts announced by employers have steadily risen throughout 2008. The first quarter saw 200,656 job cuts. Layoffs climbed 37 percent in the second quarter to 275,292. In the third quarter, job-cut announcements reached 287,142, the largest quarterly total since 2005. Job cuts are likely to surpass the one-million mark for the first time since 2005.

Heavy downsizing is expected to continue through the first half of 2009, as measures to solve the financial crisis take time to work their way through the economy. Even if the measures work, it could take several more months for consumers and corporate America to regain confidence and begin spending again.

This is a once-a-year opportunity for anyone to take advantage of our counselors’ expertise. Our services typically are available only to those who lose their jobs and are sent to us by the former employer. With the current state of the economy and mounting job losses, we expect phone lines to be busy this year.

The key to finding a job in a downturn is to be aggressive. Simply posting resumes on Internet job sites and answering classified ads rarely work, even in a good job market. These activities are even less effective in a weak job market.

Under current conditions, it is critical that job seekers expand their job search net by considering a wide variety of industries, companies and cities. Do not rule out companies that are struggling, as they are looking for talented individuals who can help turn around the business.

It is also critical to aggressively build and mine one’s professional and social networks. Let everyone know that you are seeking a position. When more people know, the greater your chances of hearing about new opportunities, meeting the right people and getting a foot in the door.

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