Are we there yet? Are we there? How about now?

May 16, 2010 at 11:58 pm 1 comment

What parent hasn’t heard this chant before?  Don’t you remember as a kid going on a road trip…. impatience consuming your every moment.

I’ve found myself  asking the same question about our economy.   And I know I’m not alone.

Are we there yet?   Are we finally on the up swing?  Has the bottom come and gone?

The good news;  YES companies ARE beginning to hire again. 

YES they ARE creating NEW jobs…. and while all this is encouraging news, the unemployment rate is still very high – however you chose to spin the numbers.

The high unemployment rate means the competition for each open job is tighter than it has been in the past.  Companies have a great selection of candidates which they can match their hiring requirements.

So who are the companies that ARE hiring?  And who’s getting the jobs?  

Obviously not all industries are coming back the same as they were.  There has been a lot of verticals hit hard.  This makes a larger segment of the population who are now having face something they haven’t had to do in the past. 

“CAREER CHANGE”

For those facing the hard truth about what to do for future prosperity, it’s difficult.  And accepting that a career change is the answer may be the hardest part.  If you’ve been working in a field for 10+ years the thought of making a change is gut wrenching and can be scary. 

It’s difficult to figure out what to transition into next.    And once you identify what you want to, figuring out HOW to make the transition can be frustrating, but NOT impossible. 

Whatever you do, don’t panic.  Here’s a few ideas to get you started:

1. Join a local networking group.  Start by gathering information about what people do and their skill sets.   Find out where people work and see if any of those industries seem interesting to you.  You may notice a few people with the same skill sets that you have but doing something different.  You might even find it’s  easier than you think after you learn more about what other’s do in their daily career. 

TIP: If you don’t have a local one to join, form one with the folks that were laid off with you.  It’s a good way to pass job leads to one another and give moral support.

2. Another good way to prepare yourself for a switch is by finding a good career coach or counselor.  Make sure you find someone good and experienced with “career transition”.  Interview them first so that you find the “right” fit for YOU.  It’s a good way to take control of YOUR own career situation as well.   It might seem like a big investment in the short-term, it’s a solid one for long-term. 

TIP: If you’ve been laid off by an employer, see if   offer any outplacement services for people like you.  Sometimes your former employer will cover a certain amount of career coaching services within a certain period after your lay off date.  But don’t delay because there is typically a time frame that you are bound by.

3. Another great way to transition into a  new career is by working with a staffing agency (or two or three!).  Often times staffing agencies will take a look at your overall skill set to better match you for their assignments.  Be flexible so that you can gain a level of experience and build up your resume.   I recommend you also take advantage of any computer based training staffing agencies offer typically at no charge.  It might mean you spend a few hours in their office but it could be a huge leap in your skill set AND building a relationship with the office recruiters.

TIP: Be NICE!  The easier you are to work with the better your chances of them calling you for their assignments.  It pays to build good rapport with the branch recruiters and it could take you a long way if they like you.

4. If you are a more introverted career change candidate there are TONS self-help books and blogs on the subject.  Check out the reviews before you buy books and ask others for their own personal recommendations.  There are A LOT of people who have gone through career changes in their lifetime, so remember that you are not alone.

I know a lot of people landing jobs right now.  Some of them are back doing what they’ve done for years. But a huge segment of people are choosing to do new career things not by choice…. and you know what?   It’s working for them; it’s been a good thing. 

So are you there yet?   How about now?

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Entry filed under: Job Hunting, Networking. Tags: , , , .

A funny thing happened on the way to my blog….

1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. jpstreeter  |  May 17, 2010 at 1:34 am

    Heather,

    I have this theory that 99.4% of hiring managers are looking to find someone who’s current/most recent job title is exactly the same one as the job announcement. In other words, in their minds, the “perfect fit” is a candidate who is already doing the kind of job that they are hiring for, so there will be no training, no “learning curve”, no “taking chances.”

    I’ve successfully made a career transition several times in my life and I’ve also been unemployed/interviewing for extended periods, so this isn’t just a casual theory. I’ve also observed hiring managers from the inside, and have found it almost impossible to convince them to consider “alternative” candidates.

    OF COURSE, skills, abilities, accomplishments and the right personality OUGHT to be the hiring determinant. But there are times when I think hiring managers are the most conservative people in the world. Any hint of something “non-traditional” can be the kiss of death.

    I do think you are onto something when you suggest going through an agency. But even then, lots of recruiters mirror (understandably) the profoundly risk-averse attitude of hiring managers. So unless the candidate is willing to do a lot of “creative writing” as regards their resume and work history, they can really suffer when attempting to change careers.

    As someone who is turning 50 this year, I’m also worried not just about the fact I might need to make a transition in the future, but that my CURRENT career (marketing/communications) is transitioning right out from under me. There are so many changes happening in the p.r. and social media worlds that some days I wake up wondering if all of my past history is meaningless in light of the rapid pace of innovation. I do everything in my power to keep up, but I also wonder if skills which previously made me a GREAT candidate, now make me an “alternative” candidate.

    Anyway, great post, and thanks for making me think!

    Reply

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