Here’s the thing about good times: you have to make the most of them. You have to be on top of your game, even more so than in bad times.
And we’re in one of those good times right now, an extremely interesting time, to boot. The job market has done a full one-eighty from where it was in its deepest, darkest days just about seven years ago: 65 consecutive months of private sector job growth, 13 million jobs created (in all sectors, by the way), unemployment at its lowest rate in seven and a half years, and on and on and on.
But for more than one reason, you don’t need me to feed you those numbers: (1) I’ve been at it for quite some time now anyway, (2) you can get a bright seventh grader to look them up for you in ten minutes, and (3) it’s no longer the numbers that matter. The trend lines are so strong and have sustained themselves so predictably, that the numbers are now just the backdrop for the real story, a story that’s not made up of numbers at all, in fact.
What I’m about to relate comes from my observations and conclusions over the last several years of watching – very carefully – not just who’s hiring and who’s getting hired, but how and why these landings are taking place. Watch something long enough, concentrate hard enough, think critically, and be ready to recognize patterns and trends – and guess what. Discovery!
That’s why I said we’re in an extremely interesting time. Based on more elements that I’d have room for in my next book (hmmm…), let alone relate here, I do believe I spotted something intriguing, namely, when employers were downsizing by laying off millions in a “down” market, they were doing it for the short term, but now that they’re hiring in an “up” market, particularly this one, they’re hiring for the long term. And you better believe they’re going to be looking for the best possible candidates they can find…for the long term.
I am totally convinced of this and totally committed to it.
Why? The feedback I’m getting from employers with whom I interact frequently (both large and small firms), from candidates who landed (and what they told me went on in their interviews), from reports and surveys, and from other career professionals with whom I hang out, is all pointing to this “long term” mentality and behavior. There’s a lot of good stuff going on in the job market right now, and while we may not be in the absolute best of times, we sure are headed in that direction.
And that means one thing. If employers are hiring for the long term, you must give them the reason to decide that you’re the one worth the ;long-term investment. Think about that for a minute. Over the last decade, almost no one was thinking in terms of long-term employment; just getting a job (“I’ll take anything”) was the “only port in a storm” we sought. It’s very different now.
The upshot of it all is simple. If employers are taking the long view, they want quality. Real quality. They want candidates with all the great job skills, and they’re finding them by vetting candidates that have all their career skills in great shape: resumes, profiles, interviewing strategies, job search strategies, credentials, and so on. And that’s where you have to take the bull by the horns and make absolutely sure you’re going to be a stronger, more competitive candidate, the one who will stand out in what has turned out to be a bustling crowd of optimistic job seekers. One hiring manager (who asked for anonymity because “we can’t keep up with all the resumes and calls we’re already getting”) told me in simple terms, “The most sweeping change in our hiring and in our management culture has been toward long-term hiring and retention.” Retention!
Sweet, no? After all these rough years, that’s sweet.
But it’s not going to come to you; you still have to go get it – and be the best one at doing so. And therein lies one of my observations, simple as it may be: when opportunities multiply, expectations rise. The more possibilities there are, the better the candidate you have to be, and that’s why you have to be on top of your game even more so than in bad times.
To that end – and because I fully believe that now is the time (if I may borrow that hallowed phrase) – I will be holding the 2015 version of my “Complete Career Workshop Series” – four two-hour sessions on each Wednesday evening of October that will focus on (1) smart job search strategies; (2) resumes, cover letters, and LinkedIn profiles; (3) interviewing strategies and skills (with the emphasis on strategies); and (4) career networking. Please visit my Web site, which you can find at the bottom of this column, for detailed information.
The goal of this four-part series is to make you – here we go again – a stronger, more competitive candidate in all facets – and that every tool in your bag is sharp.
Because when opportunity knocks, it doesn’t wait around too long for your answer.
October is right around the corner.
Visit Amdur Coaching: www.amdurcoaching.com