Career Experts Offer Tips for New Job-Search Realities: Job Action Day 2010


A Job Action Day 2010 Guest Blog Entry from Quintessential Careers JobActionDay2010Logo.jpg Workers and job-seekers face very different job-search and workplace realities than they did before the 2008 economic collapse. Job Action Day 2010, the third-annual initiative spearheaded by Quintessential Careers [today] [on Nov. 1], addresses this new world of work by exhorting job-seekers to look at innovative ways to create opportunity. Some key indicators of this new world of work include:
  • Fifty percent of the workforce added in 2010 will be made up of one form or another of contingent workers, says the report The Emerging New Workforce by Littler Mendelson, P.C., which provides employment and labor-law solutions. “As a result,” the report states, “approximately 25 percent to as high as 35 percent of the workforce will be made up of temporary workers, contractors, or other project-based labor. The numbers of professionals working in temporary or alternative work arrangements will continue to rise. Flexible work schedules and telecommuting will increase as companies turn towards practical solutions to efficiently complete tasks while retaining talented individuals.” [Similarly: Freelance Nation: Why Permanent Jobs May Not Come Back by Charles Hugh Smith, DailyFinance; Need a job? Contract work could be new normal by Eve Tahmincioglu, MSNBC; One-in-Five employers to hire full-time, permanent staff in Q4: survey by International Business Times]
  • A looming skills mismatch is preventing some workers from obtaining jobs even as employers increase hiring. During the recession, employers had to make do with fewer workers, and those workers took on more functions. “Now, someone who hopes to get those jobs must meet the new requirements,” reports Christopher S. Rugaber in an Associated Press article. Technology has also added to the skills mismatch. [Similarly: The Stagnating Labor Market by Arjun Jayadev and Mike Konczal, The Roosevelt Institute]
  • Competition for jobs has reached an historic high, reports “Job-seekers are facing the toughest job market conditions ever recorded, with average number of applications at a 22-month high of 18 per job,” the recruiting organization notes.
  • Some employers have begun to encourage the unemployed not to apply for jobs, blogged Laura Bassett in The Huffington Post, also noting that 5.5 people are looking for work for every job available, according to the latest data from the Labor Department.
A cadre of career experts and bloggers is joining QuintCareers in helping job-seekers confront the new realities of the workforce on Job Action Day, held annually on the first Monday in November. Here’s key advice from some of these experts on proactively confronting the new realities and creating opportunity: “Don’t be what others want you to be, advises Maggie Mistal, a certified career and life-purpose coach and the host of Making a Living with Maggie,” which airs every Friday at 4 p.m. ET on Martha Stewart Living Radio, Sirius 112, XM 157. “Focus instead on making a living with your core genius. To make a living today isn’t about shoe-horning yourself into the limited jobs available. Rather it’s about becoming known for your ‘core genius’ and packaging your talents in a way that serves the marketplace. It’s not as hard as you might think. Your core genius is what you do well naturally. It’s also what you feel compelled to do beyond a paycheck and fits your preferred workstyle (how you work best, where, when, etc.),” Mistal says. “The good news,” she says, “is everyone’s ‘core genius’ is different, unique. You set yourself apart when you’re true to who you are through your work. We all have particular skills, interests and styles that constitute our “core genius.” If you don’t know yours, take my approach — Soul Search, Research, and Job Search. Start first by defining your ideal work situation/role/problems you like to solve (soul search). Then test that in the marketplace (research) by reviewing others who are doing similar work and be open to see how you can make a living. Lastly, craft your unique brand/value and let others know the specific opportunities you can address given your core genius. It’s time your career matched who are you are, don’t you think?,” asks Mistal. Heather Krasna, MS, author of Jobs That Matter: Find a Stable, Fulfilling Career in Public Service, advises a two-pronged effort: “First, focus on building meaningful relationships rather than selling yourself,” Krasna says. “Networking has always been a mainstay of the job-search advice I’ve given, but it is much more relevant now. Internal referrals are becoming the main way jobs are filled. Don’t underestimate anyone, including people who are currently in the job market or unemployed. Everyone knows someone and can help introduce you to others. So many people are job-seeking, that you can distinguish yourself by being the most enthusiastic, positive, helpful, and optimistic of the bunch. “Secondly,” Krasna continues, “focus on following all the instructions and making a thorough and complete application for jobs. I say this because there are parts of the government sector where networking does not lead to hiring as directly. Understanding the hiring process of different employers and ensuring you faithfully follow all instructions, and go out of your way to be thorough, will make you stand out in these cases, says Krasna, who can be found on LinkedIn. Laurie Berenson, CPRW, of Sterling Career Concepts, LLC would like to see job-seekers take more risk. “Be creative, bold, and passionate in identifying ways to establish a new career path,” — whether it’s putting yourself out there as an independent contractor, thinking outside of the box on how you approach or network in to companies on your target list, or accepting unpaid assignments to get your foot in the door. For instance, consider independent contract status for projects or responsibilities that may not typically have been outsourced in the past. It’s the perfect way for an employer to test the waters wth you and have their work completed,” says Berenson, whom you can follow on Twitter. “Don’t underestimate the power of online networks,” cautions Louise Kursmark, MRW, CPRW, JCTC, CEIP, CCM, president of Best Impression Career Services, Inc. “Who you are online — how you present yourself in a professional capacity and how you are perceived by others — can have a profound effect on your career both immediately and long term. I have seen first-hand:
A new college graduate get a great job opportunity based on the strength of his online persona and with zero traditional job-hunting efforts.
A highly successful executive lose opportunities because of negative comments about him ‘yelped’ online by disgruntled former employees.
“It’s essential to understand your online identity, keep it as positive as possible, and realize that employers are making judgment calls based on what they find online,” exhorts Kursmark, who can be reached by email. Meg Guiseppi has even specific advice on online networking: “Embrace the branding and networking power of Twitter,” suggests Guiseppi, who is a C-level executive branding, resume, online identity and job-search strategist at Executive Career Brand. “With its easy accessibility, Twitter helps you get on the radar of, build trust with, and stay top-of-mind with recruiters, employer hiring decision makers, industry thought leaders, and subject matter experts. And, through the tweets of those you follow, you may uncover job opportunities, gather market intelligence, and discover challenges facing your target companies, which you’re ready to help them overcome,” says Guiseppi, whom you can reach through Twitter, LinkedIn, and email. “Persistence is more important than ever,” observes career coach Deborah Brown-Volkman, PCC, of Surpass Your Dreams. “In the past, you could get a new job more eaqsily, or possibly you received a referral that got you in the door quickly. Today, you have to follow up, follow up, and then follow up more. The person who will excel in this economy is the person that will give it another shot despite knowing if it will make a difference or not. Professional and respectful persistence is your pathway to job-search success now,” says Brown-Volkmann, who can be reached via email. Laura M. Labovich, MLRHR, takes this follow-up advice a step further. “Follow up with the hiring manager and/or recruiter after a rejection to solicit feedback, advice, and suggestions,” advises Labovich, who is chief career strategist at the Aspire! Empower! Career Strategy Group. “They may not want to share this information, so don’t be surprised if you get a no. But any candid feedback you do receive could help you to fine-tune your interview or job-search campaign to a large extent and, ultimately, help you successfully land your next job. After all, a ‘no’ today could be a ‘Yes’ tomorrow,” says Labovich, who can be reached by email, Twitter, LinkedIn. For more advice, see a full line-up of Job Action Day 2010 resources, including articles and blog entries.