As I have been observing the current employment picture over the past few years, certain dynamics capture my attention:
1Many workers cant find jobs while many companies cant find workers. Why the mismatch? Perhaps companies are being too picky. About half of US employers are having trouble locating the right people for their current openings. Much of this and more is addressed in Peter Cappellis new book, Why Good People Cant Get Jobs. Cappelli explains, for every story about an employer who cant find qualified applicants, theres a counterbalancing tale about an employer with ridiculous hiring requirements. To make matters worse, as Cappelli affirms, the online process is often overly rigid, thereby disqualifying innumerable valid candidates to everyones dismay.
2The online world is good and bad. Some people cannot find jobs because their job-search skills are too 20th century. They think if they look in the newspapers Help Wanted section, they will find a job. First, many employers no longer use traditional newspaper advertising for open positions. Second, many people remain computer illiterate. This sets the stage for a major disconnect.
3Computerization and technology have affected even the most manual of jobs. A strong back is no longer the ticket to a blue collar job. Workers must often have highly technical computer skills to manage the technology embodied in modern manufacturing, warehousing, shipping, and servicing processes.
4The situation will likely get worse before it gets better. Although I remain an optimist, I am a trends reader. The trends tell me we will remain in tumultuous times for a while. Too many bodies are in motion and technology is constantly changing. Demographics do not die; they play out to their ends. Yes, I believe the employment picture will eventually significantly improve. Any individuals experience of that will of course vary widely.
5Networking remains the most profitable path to a new job. Regardless of how well the worker executes all other aspects of the job search, networking should never be neglected. Many a job seeker became a happy worker because of just one associate or friend who said, Oh, I know someone in that department. Let me pass along your name.
ConclusionGetting a job is hard! Nevertheless, job seekers can still do some things to conduct their searches intelligently. Pay attention to the trends. Stay sharp with the online dynamics. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, never stop believing things will get better.
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