Really at any time – but especially now in the heart of a pandemic, the labor market can be a cruel game of musical chairs. When the music stops, you had better grab a chair and sit down. Now more than ever, it’s important to understand the invisible part of the job market; and use it to your advantage. What are some of those key understandings? Though not inclusive, here are a few:
Assume industries are always hiring.
- Even when you read or hear that an industry is floundering (travel, hospitality and a number of other industries are hit particularly hard right now), take the perspective that it’s hiring at the same time. When you read that a large company is laying off hundreds or even thousands of employees, it may well be hiring some new people at the same time.
- Of course, not all organizations will be hiring. But it will serve you well to adopt the mindset that in all industries at all times, there is hiring. People sadly get sick and die. They get injured. They retire. Perhaps a business unit is downsized, but the remaining staff doesn’t have the exact desired skill sets, so HR brings in a couple of people with the aligned talents.
- Even when a bankrupt government or company has a hiring freeze such as is occurring now, it may well have an exception process for “essential workers.” The wiser larger organizations hire college grads every year in any economy, otherwise, their thought stream would come to a grinding halt.
- In a nutshell, you need to believe that jobs are out there.
You get a job by talking to people.
- While impactful, you don’t get a job by having a great resume, a good interview demeanor, or a solid academic background. You get a job because you got in front of somebody (these days typically on screen), and he or she decides to put you on the payroll.
- You get to talk to employers because you talk to people, not computer software. Mindset to adopt: Computers are selective. People are helpful.
- Your biggest job is to talk to people. Yes, it includes that classic interview for a known opening. But it also means talking to everyone about your search. It should encompass every modality at your disposal – email, to text, to phone, to LinkedIn, Facebook, or other social media platforms, to Zoom, to in-person as that rolls out and evolves in our workplace.
- Too many job seekers still spend too much time submitting resumes for posted openings. Wrong, wrong, wrong! Don’t spend more than 20% of your search time doing this. Talking to people must drive your strategy.
You have to bug people to get hired.
- You will likely have to make contact with an organization several times to get hired. This will be partially driven by them and partly by you. They’ll have a plan to interview you a certain number of times, for example. But you need to have a plan to get into their heads all the time you are under consideration. Do not ever let a hiring authority forget you.
- Onetime applications rarely do it. If you make contact with a company and they say, “We’re not hiring. You’re not the right fit for us. You really have no chance here,” then move on. But if they say, “We have a hiring freeze on. You’re not right for this particular opening,” then strategize a way to stay in contact with them over time. Hiring can take weeks, often months. Stay on the radar for that entire time. Never let your vanishing cause your paralleled vanishing from their pool of candidates.
- There’s an old sales hiring adage that you can’t hire someone who won’t call you. You may love their resume; you may think they sound like a nice person. But if they won’t call you, then you can’t hire them. In a way, we’re all in sales now. Reach out to employers several times, so they don’t forget about you and hire someone else.
It’s an unprecedented time that is scary for most of us. Job search can fuel that fear. But no matter what’s going on, you can beat the odds in the job market. Somebody has to, and it may as well be you. Believing and practicing these concepts helps you master the job market in good times and in bad.
I always love to hear from you. Please comment below.