I was chatting to a girlfriend recently who wanted to talk about her career options. She didn’t know really what she wanted to do – but she did have strong ideas about what she didn’t want to do – “nothing entrepreneurial ” she told me emphatically. The sub text was that this was a bit risky, possibly slightly pushy ( all that ghastly selling ) and maybe even vaguely tacky, just too reminiscent of Alan Sugar and the Apprentice for comfort. She just wanted to find a normal job.
But what is a normal job and can it be found normally?
I think she’s due for a wake up call.
The internet has revolutionised our lives in so many ways especially the way and speed in which we do things and exchange information. The recruitment process, as with many other sectors has been dramatically impacted and is constantly evolving in response to technological advancement. These developments have coincided with a dramatic worldwide recession and a huge decrease in the number of jobs available. Job loss outstripped job creation 3:1 in the first quarter of 2009 in Europe. Globally unemployment figures are now tipping over the 9% mark, so that in some countries and sectors almost 1 in 10 people are now unemployed. The number of jobs posted on line in the US dropped by 13%, 2008 on 2009, where there are now 3.3 candidates for every position.
The goal posts are moving
HR Managers claim that thousands of applicants per vacancy is commonplace. 80% of recruiters use on-line media and search engines to identify and source candidates for the hidden job market and only 20% of jobs are advertised in a traditional way. Entry level candidates compete even for unpaidemployment .
“For every 1,470 resumes, there ’s 1 job offer made and accepted” – Richard Bolles, bestselling author, What Color is Your Parachute?
Phrases such as personal branding, career management, raised visibility and google ranking have slipped imperceptibly into the career coaching lexicon. The goal posts are moving faster than you can say Beckham or Ronaldo. Today’s “normal ” may have reached its shelf life before the Q4 results are released.
The days when we could join a company and stay with it ” man and boy” ( or to be politically inclusive “woman and girl”) as the saying goes, are long gone. As are the days of guaranteed employment until retirement in any job. Will retirement even exist as a concept for future generations? The truth is we don’t know. What we do know is that there are no guarantees.
We are also learning that we have to do things differently and if we don’t we’ll get left behind.
Doing things differently
So as I coach people in enhancing their competitive edge by recognising their added value and looking for metrics to demonstrate that, identifying their USPs, creating a personal brand, increasing their visibility via different media to just the optimum level (not over doing it to become a nuisance factor), protecting their on-line image , topped off by the perfectly pitched elevator sound bite, for casual and appropriate introduction on all occasions and functions, it strikes me that this is actually probably no different to a company running its operations and launching a product on the market.
Does this mean that we all now have to become mini entrepreneurs in our job ( opportunity) seeking efforts and that managing a career is now like managing a business ?
Both require creative thinking, identifying target markets, an effective product launch, closing the deal , client relationship management, long term planning and maintenance, underpinned by sound on – going investment.
So yes …I guess it does.