3 new job search truths you must learn

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We’re in the longest recession since the Great Depression. Despite all the “green shoots” that are supposedly coming out in the economy, the truth is the unemployment rate will stay high for a long time to come.

The length of the recession, the breadth of the unemployment across all industries and the battering of consumer’s finances all mean the rules of the job search are changing. Here are three new job search truths you must learn:

You’ll find your next job through your business network

Companies are in no mood to hire. Plus, if they do want to hire, they have hundreds and hundreds of applications to choose from. Clearly, trying the “job posting, apply” method will have diminishing results.

Instead, your competitive advantage will be the person already working in a company that knows about openings — and your work. That inside recommendation from someone in your business network is priceless.

If you haven’t been building your business network, you will get behind the smart Cubicle Warriors looking for work.

Your job search will last much longer

Just like the days of selling your home in one week and casually moving across the country for another job are over, so too is the quick job search. There aren’t as many jobs out there; in fact, the market is still shrinking (just not at the stunning pace it was at the end of 2007). There is more competition for jobs.

This fact results in new job search truths: you will need to plan your job search campaign and have a significantly higher level of savings in place in case of a layoff — at least one year’s take home pay in the bank.

Without the planning and the financial resources to match up to the longer job search times, you risk your family to the whims of corporations.

You need a portfolio of job skills

Gone are the days where having a solid concentration of one job skill will be enough for getting a job. Instead, positions are now dealing with multiple types of tasks requiring multiple job skills to perform. No longer can you simply program code, you must now know how to project manage small projects  in your area. No longer can you do one function for a team; now you need to be able to do any function in a team to help out in case of layoffs or pinch hitting for vacations.

Lead with your strongest job skills, of course, but know that the rest of your job skills now need to fulfill a portfolio of needs in a department.

When times are tough, the rules change. Building your business network, planning your job search with significant savings in place and having a portfolio of job skills to offer employers will help the job search.

  • One of the ways to add to your portfolio of skills is the concept of “adjacency.” This is where you have a job skill “here” and the person next to you helps your work with a job skill “there.” So what you want to do is, through your work, build that job skill “there” so you have both your current job skill and the adjacent one.

    That gets you into a broader range of work.

  • Kathy Bitschenauer says:

    Hi, Scot,

    I read your post with interest, especially point 3, “You need a portfolio of job skills.” You make a great point that not only do job seekers need the skills for the job, but also for the “extras” they need to anticipate in their next work environment. Given that many jobs that are gone now will never reappear, it means a new way of working in a job, with more functional acumen expected. It also speaks to the need to continuously grow in occupational skills and knowledge. No more resting on one’s “laurels”!

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