The game has changed in a big way - it's at least 6 times more competitive. In an average job market, there's about 1 advertised job per unemployed worker. Today, the US average is 6 unemployed workers for each advertised job (it's close to 10:1 in some states) - these numbers may be understated because they don't include those who have exhausted unemployment and passive job seekers.
For lack of more precise statistics - it's 6 times more competitive than the average year, and about 12 times more competitive than a good year like 1999 (your dog could find a job in 1999).
The Game Has Changed:
- Low hanging fruit breeds spoiled habits: In an average job market, candidates don't have to be good at job search. In average job markets, there are so many jobs that candidates can use enough of just about any activity and still stumble across job offers in a short time.
- Most candidate networking efforts are random activities: The majority of candidates describe networking is calling/emailing their contacts and letting each know they are looking for work. This is a random activity - when labor demands are strong enough, this random activity can provide results. During the worst job market of our lifetime, this random activity seldom delivers acceptable results - but it's how candidates have been taught to job hunt.
- There is no low hanging fruit today: When there are job shortages, random search approaches deliver poor results.
- Win by increasing your odds: When the job market is 6 times more competitive than an average market, the winners do so by increasing their odds. Frustrated job seekers seldom structure their job search to maximize their odds.
One of the best ways to increase your odds is to manage your job search time, so you concentrate on high gain activities. This type of job search approach is foreign to many candidates. Let's examine some job search time management steps to increase your odds:
Steps To Increase Your Odds:
- Plan: Very very very few candidates plan their job search effectively. Planning involves more than just tracking, building target lists, and creating marketing materials. Planning involves project management - building a timeline, planning activities, and tracking feedback to keep your plan on track. I talk to hundreds of project managers each year in job search - if I'm lucky, I'll find one who has built a written project plan for their own job search. Have you? (See http://recareered.blogspot.com/2010/02/are-you-planning-to-fail-in-your-job.html).
- Identify high return activities: Some examples of activities that most often have high returns are included on page 3.
- Identify low gain activities: Examples of low gain activities that should be eliminated are also on page 3.
- Increase the high return activities; Decrease the low gain activities: Does this need more explanation?
- Identify additional opportunity channels to diversify your search: What did you learn about all your eggs in one basket? Even more so with job search. Invest time in building opportunity channels including boards, recruiters, networking, social networking and social branding.
- Focus, Focus, Focus: Scattershot approaches are ineffective during job shortages. Scattershot works when you are stumbling across abundant low hanging fruit.
- Track activities and results: How else can you tell what's working and where you should concentrate more time? See http://recareered.blogspot.com/2010/01/how-effective-is-your-resume-heres-how.html
- Track Opportunities: DIY'ers - Use a simple Excel spreadsheet. For a packaged approach try www.JibberJobber.com.
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