By Sherrie MadiaÂ Â
Getting fired, downsized, or whatever you’d like to call it, can leave you feeling frantic and helpless. When you’re out of work, you are very much focused on yourself. This is only natural. As such, you may find little consolation in knowing that there are many others who are in the same situation as you. There are also most likely some who are even worse off than you are. Unfortunately, in the last several years, millions of hard-working folks have lost their jobs.Â
The recent job-loss hit parade has been particularly horrendous, hitting every industry sector and negatively affecting the lives of millions of individuals and families. In light of the catastrophic economic collapses we’ve seen during the nation’s worst recession since the Great Depression, candidates must be smarter than ever in the face of fewer jobs and sky-high unemployment.Â
Regardless of the causes, we are all in a new world in which job seekers must be brave and ready to approach job seeking in a truly unique way. Online media can provide you with the tools you will need to showcase yourself-or reinvent yourself-so that you may thrive amidst any market conditions.Â
Why the New Hyper-Competitive Job Market?Â
We don’t need to tell you how competitive today’s job market is. You know that companies around the world are competing against one another to offer quality products and services at the lowest possible costs. Companies are sending jobs overseas if they can cut costs by doing so. Alternatively, they are simply shedding jobs by the thousands in order to stay profitable.Â
In many places, there are far fewer locally based businesses that are thriving or even surviving. Many have either been acquired by to out-of-town owners or have been put out of business by large multinational corporations with daunting economies of scale, such as Walmart.Â
Unfortunately, many of these larger corporations don’t share the same sense of responsibility, loyalty, and commitment to their employees and the local communities in which they do business-unlike their former owners. Regardless of what the corporate mission statements say, many employers don’t value their employees as individuals as they once did.Â
In the past, company CEOs and presidents may have known all of their employees-and even their employees’ family members-on a personal basis. Now it’s every employee for himself or herself. Often, the pace of business is too fast-and job turnover is too high-for anyone to really get to know anyone else. This is the reality that you must face as a job seeker.Â
Generations ago, you were considered a job hopper if you didn’t stay at a company for at least 10 years. In today’s workforce, getting a new job every two to three years is more of the rule than the exception. As sad as it may seem, all employees are replaceable, and, eventually, most employees will find themselves replaced in one way or another. If not by technology itself, then by a more tech-savvy generation with skill sets that have naturally evolved to fit current job markets.Â
The days when companies valued and rewarded employee loyalty above all else are largely gone. Many employers have gravitated to an extreme fixation on bottom-line results. If you don’t produce, you’re gone. If you are uncertain as to where a company places its values, it’s best to operate under this assumption.Â
In fact, many executives at today’s largest companies view their employees as disposable commodities, regardless of the impact that has on employee morale. If you have not yet experienced such a climate within your professional career, don’t assume that it doesn’t exist: Assume you’ve just been lucky.Â
So maintain a realistic mindset about your relationship to your employer. They owe you pay and benefits, and you owe them a solid day’s work. There are no guarantees beyond that. Even though many would love to return to that golden era of secure employment, there is no turning back.Â
Accordingly, do yourself two big favors:Â
1. Accept the realities of how these and other factors have irreversibly altered the global employment landscapeÂ
2. Always keep the positioning of you foremost in mind. Each job seeker must fend for himself or herself. However, through social networks, fending for oneself can occur within a community, thus lessening the feeling that you are going it alone.Â
How The Job Market Has ChangedÂ
Just as global economics have had a profound effect on how companies deal with their employees, cultural changes and technology had a profound effect on how you should go about searching for a job. If you have been out of the job market for a while-or if you are just entering the ranks of the employed and reflecting on the way in which your older brother obtained his first job years ago-remember that the Internet has been driving dramatic change in recent years. Specifically:Â
- Paper resumes are out. Online resumes have been in for some time now. But most recently, those who employ social media tactics have had a significant advantage over those who aren’t familiar with such online techniques.
- Classified ads in newspapers are out. Online job boards such as Monster.com and Hotjobs are in. But even more cutting-edge are social networking sites.
- Meeting face-to-face for first interviews is increasingly being replaced by initial telephone interviews. Most employers are unwilling to waste the time, money, and effort to organize and meet face to face with job candidates before they have weeded out those who don’t meet their criteria via phone calls, videoconferencing, and web chats. So you need to get your message down. It has to make an impact quickly or you’re dead in the water.
- There is an increasing move away from centralized cube workplaces. Employers are finding that they can cut costs and achieve higher productivity if they have at least some of their employees working remotely from home.
- Having human resources executives shuffling through paper resumes is out. Automating the job candidate screening process by using job sites and scanning software to home in on qualified candidates by finding keywords in their digital resumes is in.
While some radical changes have occurred, no need to feel overwhelmed. The same rules of job search still apply: Be personable, honest, and professional, and remember that getting the job is about relationship building, and demonstrating your ability to do the job. If you’ve been doing this all along, then moving these skills to a different platform is a simple transition. Once you have given yourself time to get comfortable with this new means of searching for employment, you will likely find it to be easier, more convenient and more robust in terms of finding your next job.
Sherrie A. Madia, Ph.D. is an educator, author, and trainer. Her most recent books include The Social Media Survival Guide (Also available in Spanish), The Online Job Search Survival Guide, and S.E.R.I.A.L.PRENEURSHIP: The Secrets of Repeatable Business Success. She is frequently cited by the national media as an expert in social media. She is Director of Communications, External Affairs, and a Lecturer at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.To schedule an individual consultation or group workshop on online job-search, visit http://www.onlinejobsearchbook.com/.Â Â
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