Are we all doomed?
With the recent announcements of cuts in public spending as part of the government’s Spending Review, it’s little wonder that there’s a deep sense of gloom in the air. People are worried – and not without reason, given that pundits predict a steep rise in unemployment to follow. At least 490,000 public sector jobs will be lost as a result of the review, and whilst the government’s premise is that the private sector will create new jobs for those out of work, this is by no means a guaranteed outcome. Even if it was, it couldn’t happen overnight. Financial experts predict that as many as 1 million jobs could be lost before the economy picks up. Many people, still reeling from the announcements, are now bracing themselves for uncertain – and very painful – times ahead.
So, when the news is this bad, why am I repeating it? Haven’t we all heard enough of how terrible things are, and about how much worse they’re going to get?
I’m repeating it for two reasons: firstly, because I think none of us can afford to be complacent in terms of considering our future career prospects; and secondly, because I want you to know that the news isn’t all bad. My regular readers will know by now that I don’t go in for pat, positive-thinking solutions to the problems my clients bring to me. I’m much more interested in practical strategies which will get them from A to B and beyond, and that’s what I want to share with you here. Can we find work when “there are no jobs”?
Yes, we can, because the bottom-line fact is this: despite what we’re hearing on an almost daily basis, there are always jobs out there. Good ones, too.
On average, in the UK in 2010, employee turnover sits at around 12%. That means that 12% of all employed people leave their jobs (for a variety of reasons) in the year. Or, to look at it another way, potentially 12% of all jobs in any year will become vacant. Whilst that figure may well be skewed by the impending public sector redundancies, it doesn’t obscure the fact that – of jobs that will still exist – a constant and sizeable proportion of them will become vacant, and will need to be filled.
It’s also interesting to note that the UK economy created a record number of jobs between April and June 2010, with the number of people employed in the country rising to 29 million in the second quarter, the biggest rise since 1989. Even if we were to remove 1 million from that figure, by assuming there will be 12% turnover, we can see that approximately 3 million vacancies will arise this year.
Although I’m providing a very rough, ready – and admittedly simplistic – assessment, it certainly helps to give lie to the notion that “there are no jobs”.
Another fact – a sadder one – is this: there are always more people looking for jobs than are able to find them. Unemployment exists, even when times are good. Like it or loathe it, to be hunting for a job (at any time) is to be in fierce competition with others looking for the same job.
What’s different now? In tougher times, the competition is much fiercer, and we need to hone our job-hunting skills until they are as powerful and precise as we can possibly make them.
1. Being fully prepared to undertake a planned, strategic job-hunt. Waiting until the ideal job appears in your morning paper just won’t cut it. Nor will firing off applications in all directions, without full regard to what you’re aiming at, in the vague hope that one of them will hit a target. A planned, strategic job-hunt means taking full inventory of yourself: your talents, skills, interests, experience, and willingness to do what you need to do to find work, and then identifying – in detail – the potential employers who can hire you to express those qualities for an appropriate level of remuneration. I can’t overstate this point enough. It’s the single most overlooked part of the job hunt, and when you omit it, you vastly decrease your chances of success.
2. Taking personal responsibility for your job-hunt. I don’t mean anything as crass as “get on your bike”, but I do mean this: don’t wait for any individual or institution to save you. Don’t sit around wringing your hands and wishing the Chancellor would have a change of heart and put some money back into the coffers. If you are unlucky enough to become unemployed, don’t waste time berating your previous employer for letting you go (unless of course they have treated you unfairly, in which case you should absolutely take the appropriate action). Make it your first job to find a job, if that’s what you want. The first step to that is to get cracking on point No.1, above.
3. Getting informed about the job market and how to navigate it. Don’t rest comfortably in any current assumptions about how things work, and about how you could or should go about finding a job. There are at least 20 different ways to search for work. You need to know how many of those you should be using at any one time in order to maximise your chances. You also need to know what to do if your strategy isn’t working. And if – when! – you get an interview for a new job, you need to know how to increase the likelihood that you’ll impress upon the interview panel that you and the job are the perfect fit.
All of which sounds great in theory, but what about the practice?
The next article in this series - coming very soon – will appear in my newsletter and will look at How To Undertake A Planned and Strategic Job-Hunt. That will be followed by part three - How To Ace Your Interviews – also to come in the newsletter.
So, what are you waiting for? Get ready to recession-proof your job hunt by subscribing here (it’s free, and you’ll get a complimentary copy of my eBook ‘How To Find Your Purpose In Life’).
© Brian Cormack Carr, 2010