This job market is a poser. It wants you to think it’s a regular old job market just like those we’ve always had. And, if you buy into that notion, you’ll be setting yourself up for failure.
Good old fashioned job markets were “come as you are” events. You found a new job with the skills you had from your old job. All you had to do, therefore, was update your resume, send it out to a bunch of employers, do a little networking around the edges, and before you knew it, you would have a couple of job offers, at least one of which was better than the job you last had.
It was a pretty nifty system … as long as it lasted.
Today, the come as you are job market has been replaced by the “get better if you want to get work” job market. And most people are unaware of the change. As The New York Times put it in a recent article describing a job seeker, this lack of recognition:
“… helps explains why Ms. Eisen [the job seeker]—who has never before struggled to find work—feels a familiar pain each time she scans job listings in her computer. There are positions in health care, most requiring experience she lacks. Office jobs demand familiarity with software she has never used.”
In other words, what she has isn’t enough to get what she needs. So, here’s the sobering truth: if you’re out of work in this middling recovery, your chances of finding a new job the old fashioned way are slim and none. The game has changed, which means that the rules have too.
What should you do?
Get better even as you get on with your job search. You have three options:
• You can update your skills in your current field of work if it is one that is still needed by employers.
• You can add new skills that will enable you to do more with your old skills and thus make a more valuable contribution on-the-job.
• You can acquire the skills of a new occupation, one that is now and will likely continue to be in demand by employers.
That’s it. Those are your only choices. If you want to find work.
Standing at a bulletin board filled with job listings won’t do it. And neither will checking the postings at job boards online. You can send out a million resumes, but if all they’re describing is the skills you had in your last job, they won’t get you a new one.
On the other hand, if you send out ten resumes and each one describes
• what you’ve done
• what you’re doing to get better,
you’re much more likely to find an employer that will value who you are because they can see who you aspire to be.
Thanks for reading,