“She needs me now but I can’t seem to find the time. I’ve got a new job now in the unemployment line. And we don’t know how we got into this mess, it’s a god’s test, someone help us cause we’re doing our best.”
With an increasingly unstable world economy, the lyrics from the Script’s 2012 chart-topping hit have never rung more true. In first world societies where immediate survival needs are relatively well maintained, the most ghastly hazard we can face is unemployment.
According to a recent study conducted by Rutgers University in the United States, less than half of all 2009 graduates secured a full-time job within a year. Of that percentage, only half of these lucky hires reported satisfaction in their role.
That’s roughly 90,000 people struggling with unemployment and career dissatisfaction.
As this trend continues, grads are now practically guaranteed to wander the trail of fail before gaining a career foothold. Experienced professionals are forced to seek below their level, squeezing newbies out of the value chain altogether.
It is unequivocally fortunate that we don’t need to worry about getting parasites from the water we drink, while wasting away from starvation and preventable diseases. I champion this perspective, since it makes the hellish merry-go-round of rejection easier to endure.
The question stands: As a job seeker, what can you do to elevate yourself above a cess pool of stagnant talent?
Unemployment happens to all of us at one point or another, for one reason or another, but applying for jobs is now only one per cent of the battle. With the rise of the digital dimension, the tools now exist to self-promote your most valuable commodity; you.
The internet is a resource, not a solution. Job seeking professionals should use it as a tool to engineer genuine, real-world relationships rather than treating it as the means to an end.
After over a decade of polls, CareerXroads’ ‘Sources of Hire Survey‘ continues to show referrals as the primary hiring source across all industry sectors. Employers want to know as much as possible about potential candidates, so proof of your legitimacy from a trusted source means lock-stock success.
Likewise, networking opens the door to jobs that have not yet been posted or may never be formally advertised. There is a whole volcano of sneaky career opportunities smouldering under the radar of main-stream recruitment.
Most job seekers don’t appreciate how many ways you can develop your online identity. Even more feel that such methods don’t apply to their chosen industry. But the truth is, social media is multilateral.
At the end of the day, professional success comes down to one thing; confidence. If you don’t show any self-interest, why should anyone else? An active social media presence shows confidence in your skills, confidence in your industry, and most importantly, confidence in yourself.
By posting examples of your work, re-tweeting industry news, blogging about your latest triumphs, you are providing tangible proof of your dedication and enthusiasm for what you do.
When your application lands on their desk, employers will notice and applaud your multidimensional commitment.
The Direct Approach
The email inbox is where all good job opportunities go to die.
From the instant you click send, that email turns into Nemo, the clown fish. If you don’t follow it up with life-shattering persistence, an ocean of carnivorous sea creatures will descend to swallow your dreams whole. Not exactly, but close enough.
With today’s digital hiring procedures, HR in-boxes are flooded with hundreds of emails. Often you will never receive a reply. I have been told by several interviewers that I would not have been considered, had I failed to follow up.
Additionally, stalking businesses through social media portals is not only a good idea, it is expected. The Senior Editor of a magazine asked me in an interview, “have you liked us on Facebook yet?” Of course…(nope)
And god help you if you are not on linkedIn.
As one of the most commanding social media networks, LinkedIn allows companies to pool their prospects within a single platform. Most importantly, it facilitates conversation between all walks of business.
By simply merging my Facebook friends with my account, I was shocked by the people I was connected to by “one tier away”.
This is how I came to link with Michael Lohan, the unfortunate brother of the drug slugging sensation we all know and probably don’t love. I can’t wait to harness that resource.
The Way Forward
The biggest mistake first-world entrepreneurs make is to view digital platforms as the soft copy extension of the CV. While a CV is a static, inactive slab, your online identity is a calico cat; purring your animated message to a pliant pool of potentials.
In a global professional climate where value is measured in eminence and billion dollar ideas are a brain-fart away, we all have to work a little bit harder to promote the unique within ourselves.
The next time you find yourself second man down in an interview line up, find the seedling of individuality within yourself and represent!