The mechanics of finding a job has not changed in years with people finding jobs with little different from that of their grandparents. People complained then and now. The lack of jobs is only a small part of the problem. The greater part of the problem is the job search strategy.
First, let me cite some facts.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics the unemployment rate for March 2015 held steady at 5.5% with the number of unemployed people at 8.6 million. In December 2007, just prior to the Great Recession, the unemployment rate was 5.0%. The graph of the unemployment and long-term unemployment rates from 1948 onwards shows the most employed periods for three brief times. We are roughly at the medium unemployment rate.
That pretty much means according to government statistics that anyone can have any job they want and that the “Great Recession” is over not just in name but in reality. One can argue that Starbucks thrives and luxurious coffee is should be the first to go, when tightening the purse/wallet.
Yet, finding a job, a real job, is as hard today than at any other time, more so now, for reasons that I frequently talk about: globalization (outsourcing, H1-B visas, etc.), the Internet, productivity improvements, a lack of the next big thing here in the States, and a declining education gap, when compared to the rest of the world.
In this article, I want to talk of only a couple of the issues, namely what is a dream job and proper strategies.
Let me start off by stating some facts:
- Know thy self
- Employers care about solving their problem
- Most people are turned off by beginning sales and marketing tactics
- One actually has to work a bit to get a job
- Money is a byproduct, not the goal
I was more than a year into my bachelor’s degree. UCLA administrators started lecturing me about the need to declare a major. Other than a student and doing meaningless things, I had never been anything. I felt a degree had a direct correlation to what I wanted to do, but as I did not know what would make me happy, make lots of money, and what would excel at, I could not easily choose a profession. The solution to this dilemma was to choose a path, and the universe will correct the path, which it did.
Many people say they want to land their dream job, but few, when questioned directly, can truly site what that is. I have heard “bigger financial reward” as an answer, but money and a paycheck are byproducts. Employers hire the best candidate to solve their problem. People are the best, when they are motivated by their work.
Take two doctors. One doctor does his/her job, but talks about everything but chiropractic things. Evenings and free time get spent with everything but being a doctor. Radio, babies, parties, learning Spanish, talking with people, talking about how horrible vaccinations are, and a whole slew of other things are the course de jour.
The other doctor gets absorbed in his/her job. A patient (I in this case) asks a simple question, the next thing that I know, I get walked to a white board, where I get shown molecules, receptacles, and hear more about affinity and attraction than I ever wanted to know. There were a couple of minutes of DNA tossed into the mix too. A stupid thing to ask is “Did you read this article?” I cannot tell you that it took me a few times asking that question, before I realized how dumb it was. This person’s hobby is his/her profession. Nothing gets written or said without this person knowing it.
Which doctor would you want to treat you? I hope that you said the second. The best profession is that which involves your hobby and where you have an interest. The most successful people marry the two. Money flows from your interest.
Before anyone starts saying lawyers, I knew a person, who got a law degree, passed the bar, and had a hell of a time finding a job. Why? Their interest was not in law. Law was just something that happened.
That gets me to sales and marketing. Please do not play “sales and marketing”. To quote a famous line from the ancient (dinosaurs still did not exist on the planet) television series Dragnet: “Just the facts, ma’am; just the facts”.
Employers, recruiters, human resource personnel, and everyone in between:
- Have only a couple of minutes to read a resume
- Have many resumes to read
- Hate to read
- Loathe sales and marketing talk
The best sales and marketing pitch, comes when you genuinely have an interest in what you do. State the facts, and do not deviate from that. Lying is meaningless, because the truth is there for others to see.
Use social media and your resume to paint a picture. Do not glorify yourself with any embellishments. For instance, “I singlehandedly against great obstacles, figured out how to implement the project against others, who had a vested interest against the project succeeding. My efforts helped the company realize $2M in savings the first year alone. I then was able to implement productivity improvements leading to further savings.” My first thought when reading these types of statements is “thanks and no thanks”.
Do not talk of your personal life, unless it relates, and never go negative. Do not paint past employers in glowing or any other light. The interviewer does not care about your past companies, just what you did directly relate to your ability to solve a problem. Also, show an ability to adapt to the particulars of the situation, as no problem is ever the same.
To state the matter simply, your resume must not only show knowledge of the problem, but an interest in solving the problem, and relevant experience. You should show the same information everywhere, no matter where someone goes they should see the same thing.
If you know what your dream job is and have your documentation (resume, cover letter, social media, etc.) paint the picture that you are the expert, then you are a huge step closer to landing a position no matter the economic climate. The perfect climate starts with you.