Employed during the recession but ready to make a move?
The last 2 years have seen dramatic changes in the job search market characterised by massive job reductions and a significant discrepancy between the number of job seekers and jobs created. Those that were fortunate to remain employed during that period, kept their heads down, quite often tolerating salary freezes, increased workloads, longer hours and reduced teams. Frequently, these same people were involved in laying off colleagues, but as they were still employed there was very little sympathy left for them and they were just left to get on with it.
Recovery on the horizon
Now with small glimmers of economic recovery on the distant horizon this demographic is looking for change. A new year and new decade might be the catalyst that many need to get them started. In a recent report from Manpower 84% of employees polled in the United States indicated an intention to change jobs in 2011. Elsewhere, research shows that 60-65% of individuals expressed a desire to leave their jobs as soon as more solid signs of economic recovery appear. Although they have honed their workplace survivor skills, as job seekers they are still debutantes and much has changed in the last 2-3 years on today’s job market as we know. From a search and recruitment point of view, we will have a wonderfully high level of top talent open for discussion, creating great choice for hiring companies. For the job seeker , the talent pool will now have become very crowded and competition for open positions will be more fierce than ever.
So if you have spent the recession simply keeping your head above water, but are now ready to take the plunge into an unfamiliar and busy space, what do you need to do to make sure you are counted in those numbers?
– Check if you have what has become known as a personal brand.
While you have been working like crazy, your ex-colleagues after an initial crisis, have been coming to terms with the job market in the 21st century. The savyy ones will have created and extended their personal brand. Do you have an updated modern CV and a well maintained professional online profile, both reflecting your career achievements and highlighting what you can offer any potential employer? Do you even know what I’m talking about? If any of this sounds like a foreign language, seek professional help.
– Evaluate your life and career goals Create a strong mission statement with a clear job seeking strategy within a specified timeframe. Establish a plan A, B and even C if necessary.
– Check your on-line visibility How easily identifiable and contactable are you? Can head hunters, recruiters and sourcers find you and easily reach you?
– Network While you were keeping your head out of firing range how active were you at networking? If you are one of those who wonders why all these people from LinkedIn are contacting you, now is the time to pick up the pace. Make it actual and virtual. Attend professional conferences or any other networking events and if possible find a mentor, someone who perhaps has recent experience of changing their careers.
– Invest in some personal development If the last 2 years have been spent keeping things ticking over this is a good moment to make yourself a priority. Make a commitment to personal development and learning. Take a workshop or course, extend your reading list, renew a subscription to a business magazine or blog and supplement your career goals with some dedicated research or study. The competition for any job is going to be tough, so it will be essential to stand out from the crowd.
– Don’t burn bridges So now you have committed to making that change, tempting though it will be to slacken off slightly, don’t. It’s still important to maintain 100% motivation. This is the only job you have and will require the same energy levels as before. It could be months before you write that letter of resignation. Your ex-colleagues know well that the length of time an average job seeker takes to land that great job is at least 6 months or even longer.
The job seekers who hit the market during the last 2 years by now should have a modern and creative approach to the job seeking process. Many will have the heads-up on the employment market as it exists today. In a demand driven economy, sophisticated and strategic preparation will be necessary not just to get in the game, but to stay in it too.