In August of 2009, the CNN web page ran an article titled “How to get a job in 100 worlds or less. In almost every case the professional career consultants gave advice that presumed the candidate had skills that very few real life candidates have.
These 7 people gave great advice. The problem is that they gave half the advice – strong on what and short on how! While the article was written to be short and fast, the very structure of the article causes more problems than it solves. Since it is written in the expectation that the reader can actually use the suggestions, when the unprepared reader bumps up against the reality of their own limited abilities they are left more discouraged than before they read the article.
Each of you reading this article, by the very fact of taking the time to read this article, are outliers. You are not “average”. If your response to what I am saying is “learn those skills” it’s because by nature or education you’ve gone that one step farther than most people either know how to go or have been taught to go.
My point is that you cannot apply your standards for yourself to those poor souls who are floundering in their job search.
The key to economic recovery is people working at well paying jobs. Working people with good salaries have money to buy stuff and companies need them as customers to survive. The out-of-work people need help do each of the following:
- Not just discovering companies that might use their skills, but companies that need those exact skills AND have a current opening. This is key because having exactly the right skills, presented in exactly the right way on Monday is worthless if the job closed on the preceding Friday or doesn’t open until the following Monday.
- Help analyzing job requirements and matching them to their own skills. A lot of people have to change career fields in today’s market and have great skills that will crossover to other industries or jobs. Since their expertise is in the work they do and not in marketing their own skills, most won’t know how to discover or explain how their skills crossover into the new fields and industries.
- Help tailoring their resume to showcase how their skills match the job requirements. Most people try to write a resume only once every few years and thus are not very good at succinctly explaining their skills and abilities. Most people don’t have enough practice to tailor their resume to showcase their crossover skills.
- Access to a wider set of contacts and information about which companies have current openings and whom to contact, by name. The helper must become the referrer. The vast majority of jobs don’t naturally build large networks In fact; most workers don’t have networks and don’t know how to build them.
- Lastly the HR people must learn that many of the best candidates are not and need not be the best professional job seekers. Unless job search skills are job performance skills, the candidates that have the best job search skills are not really professional engineers or clerks or whatever; they are professional job seekers and once they start work, they will immediately start looking for their next job.
Before you say: “Hire one of the companies in this article to teach you and to supply the contacts you need.” Remember you are talking to someone who has just lost his or her job, thus has no income and really can’t afford to pay for professional help. These kinds of support are what the state unemployment offices should be supplying and rarely if ever actually deliver.
The solution will come from one of two sources. Either from someone within the system who recognizes the deficiencies and has the authority to make the necessary changes, plus access to the funds to pay for the extra resources. The other possible source is some “genius” outsider who can disrupt the existing process in some unexpected way.
Since genius is where (and when) you find it, the most likely solution will be a slow process of small changes within the system as lone individuals discover ways to place one candidate at a time and try to formalize the things that work.Don't just toss this aside as just another rant. Remember that defining the problem is always the first step in solving it.w