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My best hopes for jobseekers in the new year …and every year

Hope No. 1: Watching the three vulnerabilities:

My first hope is that every person who needs to work for the next two years or longer will realize that he or she is a jobseeker. Even if they just landed a great job.

Along with this is the hope that every person who wants to earn a living will be on watch for the three vulnerabilities that may threaten his or her ability to earn an income. My hope is that they will diligently watch these three areas and avoid becoming one of the unemployed people who say, “I should have seen it coming.” Again, my concern includes those who are currently working and those who are unemployed.

Jobs

Starting at the ground level: Jobs are vulnerable. They are fluid and that makes employment fluid. By this, I mean that jobs come and go. The economic landscape changes so rapidly that businesses are scrambling to keep up and stay relevant to their customers. That, in turn, means that the employment opportunities within a company are in constant churn. They come and they go. They are fluid.

New technology is eliminating jobs. I’m sure you know that.

One example is banking. How many jobs were eliminated by the ATM machine. Today, I don’t need to go to the bank to deposit checks anymore. I can scan it right from my smart phone to the bank and into my bank account.

Businesses, companies, large corporations

The next level up is the business itself. Large corporations are no longer the safe haven they were even five years ago. Truly, they aren’t able to move quick enough to stay current with new technologies. Even if they can keep up, those new technologies are causing rapid job elimination and change. Many businesses simply can’t keep up.

Almost everything is done by the numbers.

Here’s an example. Let’s say I want to get a loan; perhaps for my business, or for a home expansion. I go to the bank and talk to my banker. I’ve known him for over 20 years. I’ve borrowed money several times and always paid off the loans on time or even early. He knows me and he knows my history. But that won’t matter. Because when the decision is made about my requested loan, it will be done by the numbers: income vs assets, collateral, etc.

Let’s say a company owes me money for services. If that company goes out of business, the long-time relationship I had with the owner will not be honored. It isn’t about relationship. It’s about the numbers. Technology crunches those numbers, eliminates the need for relationships in the decision-making process and those jobs are no longer needed.

Honestly, I’m wary of businesses that are still slogging through the process to create five-year plans! Long and short-term goals make sense today, but a five-year plan…I’m skeptical.

Industries

Entire industries are shutting down.

A few examples include Appliance Repair, Game & Video Rentals, Money market and other banking, and Newspaper publishing. This article also sites multiple manufacturing areas that the author calls a “dying industry.” The list includes Recordable media, Hardware (metal hinges and the like), shoes and footwear, team uniforms, women’s and girl’s apparel.

In some cases, only parts of industries are shutting down. For example, big-box retail stores are shutting down, but they are offering their inventory online with home delivery. This includes everything from food to large household furniture. (I purchased a bed and frame online. It’s the most comfortable bed I’ve ever had.)

With the ability to have products delivered directly to my home, and with the lower cost available to me online, why would I pay more and endure the hassle of going to the store—unless I needed it immediately. …I don’t need much on an immediate basis.

Hope No. 2: Understanding the employment market

The employment market is constantly changing as businesses strive to keep ahead of consumer needs while they maintain and grow a loyal customer base. The integration of the global economy has brought new dimension to the relationship between supply and demand.

If a business can print all their marketing materials in China for a fraction of the cost of doing the job in-house, or working with a domestic company, with free delivery; why would they choose the company down the street? This is not a test of patriotism. Competition is tough! This is a business decision.

I believe that every person should have a clear understanding of how they bring value to a business. To survive, businesses must shift with the new revenue landscape and as new needs surface. Employees and jobseekers who understand and can articulate their optimum contribution to a business will be the people who maintain a consistent income.

There are four areas of self-awareness that every employee and jobseeker should be able to articulate to a potential employer. They are:
  1. Value. This is how a person finds meaning in his or her work.
  2. Attributes. These are characteristics that surpass situations. An example is a sense of humor, which is with a person regardless of the situation.
  3. Skills. Skills are constantly evolving and integrating in new ways.
  4. Environment. This refers to the optimum situation where a person can do his or her best work. Some people like a large team, others not so much. Some people prefer collaboration, others prefer independent work, other prefer a combination of both.
Jobseekers and employees who can clearly track, articulate and demonstrate these characteristics about themselves to a potential employer will earn a significant advantage over the competition.

Hope No. 3: Hope itself

My last hope in this blog is that people maintain their hope. When people are laid off, it’s downright scary. The rug is pulled out from under them as they face some of the most difficult challenges in their life.

By understanding the employment market and tracking the three vulnerabilities listed above, jobseekers can be ready, proactive and manage their career. This in itself encourages a positive attitude and a position of strength.

Hope is a critical success factor for life. Hope is motivating. Hope brings us through the hard times. I would like for people to choose hope; to protect it and to liberally share it with others.



Master these jobseeker skills to differentiate yourself, and stay ahead of the curve.



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