The buzz right now is that everyone is holding on to their current jobs with a death grip due to the grim economy. The overarching belief is that there are no jobs out there and for the ones that do exist, there are too many people applying. Let’s say some of that is true. What is also true is that there are job openings. People move, get promoted or something continues to pull people out of their jobs every day. There are jobs. Maybe not as many and maybe the competition for the ones that come available are stiff BUT there are jobs that need to be filled. One thing is also true; you won’t get any of them if you don’t try.
If you have arrived at a point where you think it is time to make your next strategic career move, you should not let the state of the economy stop you. Don’t create barriers where there are none. The challenge will be greater than in previous years but if you’re prepared for those challenges, go for it. Let’s look at what some of these challenges might be:
Job Posting Site– You hear stories of 200 people applying for one job at a local nursery for a nursery stock tender. In this environment, you can count on stiff competition for any posted job. The key here is “posted job”. While it is one way to find out what openings exist, you and millions are looking at that same posting. Looking for a job this way is the lowest priority in a job search because it is the way millions of others are searching and applying. It is hard to land a new position this way due to the volume of other applicants and it is hard to stand out in a big crowd. It can be done and you should pursue it, you just need to calibrate your expectations appropriately.
Recruiters- You also need some insight into the life of a recruiter. They receive thousands of resumes each day. They will often use their computer software to sort out all kinds of criteria to help narrow down the huge pile that has come in. This is a buyer’s market also. They don’t need to talk to you, give informational interviews or much of anything they used to do a few years ago. Right now, they want to process the paper as quickly as possible, narrow it down to a few that look hot and screen them. With tight budgets, geographic consideration is also a big selection criterion. They may not want to fly applicants or relocate new hires, so be aware that geography is now playing a role in how an applicant is being screened.
The perfect match – Because the use of resume’ handling software has become so prevalent these days, there is such a thing as the perfect match. If a hiring manager has determined 9 key skills and experience, the software will prioritize the resume’s that have the highest number of matches. With a large volume, it is now possible to have resume’ selected that hit 100% of the criteria, thus leaving out perfectly good candidates who are “close”.
This is starting to sounds like an increasingly impossible set of barriers. This environment is challenging for sure but not impossible if your plan takes these things into account. Let’s look at the key actions a person can take.
Make use of your contact and network – More than 80% of all job openings never make it to any kind of posting. Only the seriously hard to fill positions go out publicly for the most part. That means you must find those positions through the use of “who you know”. This has been and continues to be the number one way to find an ideal spot. It’s good because to some degree, it’s prescreened for you. Your network will be reluctant to send you into a snakepit workplace. They would have to face you later and simply don’t want to feel guilty. Also, they will refer when they feel confident with both sides, you and the other being a good fit. Don’t feel bad if some people you know simply don’t refer, they probably are the same ones that don’t fix up their friends with blind dates. Some people just don’t want to do it. BUT, some do!
Expand your network – if a career move is on the horizon, it’s time to cast the net a bit broader. Figure out some groups you can hook up with that will be rich in potential job contacts. Look in Meetup on the internet, tons of great groups. Also, look into social networking like LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook, easy and convenient.
Look in unique places- on an airplane, coffee shop or church.
Plan your resume’ – It is no longer possible to have just one all purpose resume’. Because of resume’ search software, you must create resume’s rich in key words. So if there is a few different related positions, create a different one for each position.
Set your expectations – Once you make a decision to move, it is a bit like stopping a freight train. You want to move right now. In this environment, you need to be a marathon runner. You need to pace yourself and set your expectations appropriately that this will take a while. You need to plan for a few dips and bumps which means you need to push through them and keep your eye on the goal.
Don’t let the economic environment stop you from pursuing your dream job. There are millions of jobs and people are hiring every day. Your job is to understand the hiring situation, put your plan together and start working on it, today.
Dorothy Tannahill-Moran is an expert on organizational and personal change. She focuses on helping people master life changes, no matter what the nature of the change is. If you would like to know more about Dorothy’s work or would like to read more of her work go to: http://www.nextchapternewlife.com or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org
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