5 Ways to Kickstart Your Own Job Recovery
At TalentDrive, a three-year-old
Large-scale, easily measurable job creation is something all Americans are waiting for. But today's workers cannot expect the workforce to return to what it was. Many will need new, specialized skills to accomplish what companies require as they strive to do more with less. Job seekers will need to be strategic and--hardest of all--will have to stay positive, despite suffering extra-long stints of unemployment.
Here are five ways to give yourself an edge in the recovery:
Pursue science, math, or a technical certification.
Despite the profusion of job seekers and nearly 10 percent unemployment, a recent study by
Technical skills and scientific knowledge seem to top the list of what employers want and workers lack. "Coming out of the downturn, employers increasingly are going to be looking for people with credentials or certifications," says
Sweeping baby boomer retirements will hit some industries particularly hard. Many firms in the defense industry must hire Americans, but the graduate-level science courses that could prepare such employees are disproportionately attended by foreign students. And other companies that have made a practice of hiring skilled graduates from countries like
Take care in choosing a retraining program.
While no one disputes the importance of training laid-off workers in skills that best reflect the needs of the nation's employers, retraining programs often struggle to accomplish the task. One study examining the benefits of Workforce Investment Act programs found that participants in the training program for disadvantaged adults initially had lower earnings than those who did not obtain training services, but their earnings caught up within 2½ years. The marginal benefits of training were found to exceed
If you're a job seeker, community colleges are often quite nimble in keeping up with employer needs, but you may also check with employers or read online postings to see which certifications are increasingly required. One thing to remember: The recession's side effects can be a bit misleading, as many jobs are going to applicants with higher-level skills--Ph.D.'s in positions requiring only a bachelor's degree, for example. That shouldn't be perceived as a long-term trend.
If you're looking for work, have a plan.
Researchers at the
Qualities such as self-discipline and dependability seemed to affect a job seeker's tendency to set goals and develop a plan, thereby influencing the number of offers received, the researchers report. "Perhaps, conscientious job seekers conducted better-quality job searches by scrutinizing their fit with prospective employers more carefully or more effectively following up with employers," the researchers report. Likewise, positive emotions may have helped job seekers behave more confidently or cope better with stress, "thereby responding more skillfully in interviews than job seekers with less positive emotions," according to the report.
The researchers recommend that job seekers set goals, monitor their progress, analyze their interview skills, and find ways to think more positively and handle bad news better. "Some of these recommendations seem like they are common sense, but they are just not that common," says researcher Daniel Turban, a professor and chair of the department of management in the
Put your search efforts into getting a referral.
A common refrain in this recession was that of the job seeker who sent hundreds of résumés in response to online postings and never heard a peep in reply. A recent study by CareerXroads suggests why: Twenty-seven percent of external hires are found through referrals. It's one of the most efficient, cost-effective ways for companies to fill positions.
At global consulting giant
Be teachable once you're hired.
What it takes to get hired is often very different from what it takes to stay employed. Technical skills may win you the job, but poor self-awareness and a lack of emotional intelligence can prevent promotion or even result in dismissal. In a study released in 2005, Leadership IQ studied 5,247 hiring managers at 312 companies. The managers made more than 20,000 hires in three years. The findings: Forty-six percent of newly hired employees fail within 18 months. The causes were overwhelmingly employees' lousy interpersonal skills.
Executive search firms pay attention to interpersonal skills. Some companies help employees learn these skills by asking a coworker to give them feedback about how they communicate. One major requirement is an openness to criticism, says executive recruiter
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Careers - 5 Ways to Kickstart Your Own Job Recovery
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