Being Out of Whack

Being Out of Whack

Today’s job market is unlike any we’ve ever seen before. It is, by any standard, horribly out-of-whack. Historically, there have been about 1.3 candidates for every opening in the workplace. Today, there are more than 5 candidates for each vacancy.

In the past, this whacky situation would have disappeared with an economic recovery. That won’t happen this time. The downsizings we’re seeing aren’t a temporary reduction in force; they’re a permanent reduction in structure. The jobs that have been eliminated are gone forever. Out-of-whack is now the new norm.

How will this radically different job market affect you?
• If you’re in transition, qualified isn’t good enough. If you want to get an offer of employment, you have to be the best qualified candidate for an opening.
• If you’re currently employed, average isn’t good enough. If you want to stay employed, you have to deliver a superior contribution on-the-job.

Qualified Isn’t Good Enough

This new job market reality leaves us with no choice but to change the way we look for a new job.
• The conventional wisdom has always favored the shotgun method. The idea was to spray your resume out to as many employers as possible as that would increase your odds of finding one that would make you an offer.
• In this new job market, exactly the opposite is true. Your odds increase by finding and focusing on those select few jobs where you are an exact match for the opening. In effect, you should now use a rifle approach and aim only for where you have the best chance of being selected.

Average Isn’t Good Enough

The new job market also changes the way we must approach the job we already have.
• Job security is no longer a function of longevity or loyalty (if it ever was). It is based on the importance of your contribution. And a consistently superior performance is the only way to achieve a contribution with high perceived value.
• In addition to your full time job, you now also have a second full time responsibility: the management of your own career. You must ensure that you have the knowledge, skills, network of contacts and other resources you need to do your best work all of the time.

The days when you could succeed by being good or good enough are gone forever. If you want to capture the opportunities for work and advancement in the 21st Century—and there are plenty of them—you must be a perfect fit for the openings you seek and a perfect performer in the job you have.

Thanks for reading,
Peter
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