By: Scott Morefield, AtWork Personnel – Bristol, TN
In an era of record high unemployment, companies are still having trouble finding qualified candidates to fill the open jobs they have. There are still jobs out there, and there are definitely job seekers, but the two just aren’t coming together en masse in joyful workforce bliss. The fact of the matter is, this seeming paradox is easily explained by the fact that many companies just aren’t happy with the talent pool reaching out to them. In this uncertain economy, they would rather wait than hire someone they don’t feel good about.
Let’s face it – employers are getting pickier and pickier, and this trend is not likely to change anytime soon. Those of us who work in the staffing industry see it every day. If you are unemployed and looking for work, it’s vitally important to maintain yourself as a relevant, marketable, attractive candidate to potential employers.
Every day people call, email, or come into our office looking for work. We give advice and career counseling to those who seek it, but since this is our very first email newsletter we’d like to share an important tip for those who might be looking for work or know someone looking for work, something to make it easier for you to land on your feet when life and the job market knock you down.
Often someone who is laid off from what they thought was a ‘career’ job with significant salary and benefits will accept nothing less than something similar to what they had before. They would rather stay home and collect unemployment, often for months and months at a time, never considering the possibility that what they are doing could be hurting their future job prospects.
What employer wants to hire someone who has spent the last year sitting on their couch with pizza stains on their PJs watching Oprah? Maybe you were in your woodshop making birdhouses to sell on Ebay. Maybe you were reading through that copy of War and Peace you started in college. Whatever you were doing – trust me – potential employers think you were watching Oprah, and they WILL be leery of hiring you.
Our main piece of advice to anyone who has been laid off – get another job.
OK you’re probably thinking great advice, Captain Obvious, right? Maybe I should get a job as a career counselor so I can get punched in the face every time I tell someone that! Well, what I mean is, while you are looking for that perfect fit, be willing to accept a job that is ‘beneath’ your skills and training.
This day and age, it’s routine to hear about engineers working as baristas, bankers working at McDonalds, and so on. Hopefully you can jump right back into that career track you were on before, but if you can’t right away, surely a potential employer will understand this job market and the fact that you have a drive and desire to earn a living for you and your family, whatever vocation you chose to do in between ‘careers.’ Plus, there’s no law that says you can’t be looking for your dream job while you’re doing something else.
Our grandparents understood the value of work, whatever that work happened to be. Many in our generation have lost that. There are people who would stand on the street and beg or stay home and collect a check than do a job they consider ‘beneath them.’ They are waiting for their ship to come in, unable to realize that most successful people started at the bottom of whatever career they are in.
It could be just a ‘bridge’ job, or an entirely new and exciting career, but staying active, working, engaged, is the single best piece of advice I could offer anyone on the job market today. You’ll stay sharper, feel better about yourself, stave off that wolf at the door, and be in a better position to land that job you’ve been waiting for.
Contact us here at AtWork Personnel for career advice and help in finding that bridge job or the job you’ve been looking for all along. Please, just don’t punch me in the face!