"Things are different this time". These famous words have been used in many contexts, including the ever changing employment market. In the case of career planning, this saying seems to be true.
Previous generations were familiar with a vastly different employment picture. One that included jobs for life, jobs that answered to set management, a well defined career plan that allowed one to climb up the corporate ladder, jobs that did not require keen attitudes and interests, careers that were well defined, within companies that were stable and had long term prospects. Today's picture couldn't be more different. There are no more "jobs for life", management is flexible and ever changing, employees are expected to change along with the company and its operating environment, and companies are not stable entities with mergers, acquisitions, and attrition resulting from increased global competition. In addition, the western world has seen the cost to employment (to businesses) rise with increasing rules and regulations - which will lead to a continued growth for people that work for themselves or have home based businesses.
In this environment employees need to be better prepared for change, including drastic, life changing events that can occur at will. Having said that, this could also be used as a tool by employees as the labour market is expected to remain tight, especially in the skilled and service fields. The knowledge economy is no longer a panacea, and those who can better themselves through hard work and continuous education should reap the rewards. What we are need is a change in attitudes, towards the job market. People create their own careers, this is not only from their hard work and learning, but also from their personal ingenuity and attitudes. From computer programming, to the military, investments/banking to retail or entrepreneurship. Attitudes must transform from personal focus to a team focus, for a corporation/employer is akin to a team whose goal is to perform even as it replaces players and managers/coaches as the needs arise. This leads to the most daunting task for employees - the lack of job security. As you'd expect on a professional sports team, all parts are replaceable. This is no different in the job arena.
So in an environment that embraces continuous change and the need to stay competitive, there is more churn. Now this can mean both good and bad things for employees, depending on the economic cycle, their qualifications and the needs of an industry. As more people enter the job search market and do so with more frequency, it is essential for job seekers to circumvent the traditional job search avenues in order to gain an edge. The person who can network their way to a decision maker has the best chances of landing even the most highly sought after job position. Once in the job, you must start the cycle once again of adapting to your new environment and continually improving yourself by adding new skills and qualifications.
Job Search Process
In order to create an efficient plan for job search or career management, we can't just log into Monster.com and start looking for jobs and instead must follow a logical process. The first step in either seeking a job or changing careers is research. One must figure out where the jobs are, who is hiring, and what are the prospects for the future. This needs to be followed up by "Self Assessment". You need to figure out what you are good at and what is stopping you from enhancing your current position. Next in line would be a plan to market yourself and generate leads. The most commonly perceived way of marketing yourself is the resume, but other marketing efforts including networking are also key. The final step in the process is the interview, the face to face interaction that is the final factor in the decision maker's selection.
Most job seekers tend to jump into the job search process by making their resume and sending it out to every half decent help wanted ad they see. What they are missing are the very important steps of assessing your career goals and life situations. It is essential that you begin the next phase of your career by first understanding your motivations for work, career strengths, personal values, and professional interests - a career assessment is essential.
Most experts agree that the notion of lifetime work with a company has now gone the way of the dodo bird. This means that you are more likely to see frequent career transitions and maybe even career dislocation. One must begin by dealing with the human emotions associated with a job layoff or firing. Anger, shock, worry, and maybe even depression can have a devastating impact on most people. The key is to understand these emotions and to work as efficiently as possible to address them through positive actions. One way of dealing with the constant questions from not only prospective employers but also friends, family, neighbors and strangers is to have a clear statement for why you left your last company. Make this statement short and to the point, highlighting key reasons why your last employment came to an end.
Begin by taking stock of your career goals and where you are in your life. If you have a family with mortgage and car payments, it is essential that you land back on your feet as quickly as possible. In this scenerio, you might not be comfortable holding out for the "dream" job and might be eager to take the first opportunity that meets certain criteria. If you find your self in such a situation or not, you must have a clear understanding of these criteria. You can begin with sizing up your strengths and weaknesses, understanding your objectives and outlining how you do your best work. The assessment process should utilize your past successes, your current strengths, work habits, a clear career objective, and your personal preferences.
The career assessment process is an important exercise to conduct prior to jumping into the job research, resume building and job networking parts of your career strategy. It will ensure a more efficient use your time and resources in engaging the right kind of people for the right kind of work.
Career Tips for Teenagers
After completing a self assessment and gaining insight into personal skills and needs, it is time to research the job market. Through comprehensive of the business environment and employment market you can discover the value and power of your skills and experience. The goal is to match your particular skills with demands in the field.
One can begin by exploring a group of industries of sectors that are relevant to your career objectives. Many research tactics can be used to gain this information, though the most convinient is the Internet. All companies have websites, which provide information about their organizations, products, services and history. Many companies are part of specialized trade groups and professional organizations, which usually provide nice and handy lists of member companies on their website or through print publications.
When doing geographic research, Internet search engines can still provide useful data. Local yellow pages and telephone directories can help you track down the harder to find companies that may not be fully listed in the popular search engines. One of the best research tools based on geography is the local chamber of commerce. Most have websites with member listsings and others have print publications that can help the researcher gain invaluabe information about the types and number of companies that are based in a particular area.
Once you have gathered some data, it can be helpful to create a reseach summary for each industry sector, geographic location or sector explored. This should be followed by a list of companies that can be targetted. Once this list has been revised, it is time to begin search for contacts within the companies that can be networked to gain more information about future career prospects. Your final market research will be complete once you have gathered all the relevant information about your industry of choice and have established relationships with one or more key people in these sectors.
List of key industry sectors
Job Search Strategies
Parts of the Resume
- Heading and Opening Summary
- Technical and Computer Skills
- Professional Experience and Accomplishments
- Volunteer Work and Professional Affiliations
"Money is better than poverty, if only for financial reasons." Woody Allen
"You must be prepared to live in an uncertain world, where the only certainty is you - your skills, your flexibility, your capacity to adapt to change." Janis Foord Kirk
"Whatever the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve." Napoleon Hill