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Tough Job Market Tips:

Carl Lavin, managing editor for Forbes.com, posed a question to a group of bloggers asking the following question,

Recently, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported a jump in the unemployment rate to 10.2%.  Some economists think we could be looking at 10.5% by early next year. 

Given these grim forecasts, how do you counsel recent college graduates and others entering the job market for the first time in this employment climate? Is there any advice or strategies you find particularly useful?

When I graduated from university and received my license to practice as a Registered Nurse I had no problem finding full time employment due to the clear and obvious shortage of nurses that exists within the healthcare system today.  But as a business graduate in 2004 I clearly remember the pressures many in my graduating class faced when attempting to find fulltime employment that was both meaningful and rewarding.
To state that this is a difficult employment environment is a bit of an understatement when many new graduates haven’t had difficulty finding employment in the past.  Today they face a climate for employment that has them attending multiple resume seminars, pounding the pavement seeking job opportunities and adding their resumes to a growing pile of competition.

In my consulting business I’ve had the opportunity to work with a number of self employed individuals who started their companies out with nothing more than some savings and an idea.  What I’ve learnt is that an idea, for a business or a career, can be a powerful tool in securing your financial future now and in the years ahead.

What I’ve decided to include in my response to the question posed by Forbes.com is to highlight five successful characteristics that I and many of my clients share in their individual and business successes.

Market Yourself
Just as Fortune 500 companies know the importance of marketing their products and services to their customers the unemployed of today need to learn the art of marketing.  Learning how to market you as a valuable asset is just as important as how any company tries to sell itself to others.  Marketing yourself is more than just how you dress, talk and walk; it’s the presentation of what you bring to a potential employer and how valuable that might be to their competition.  Talent is a fiercely pursued commodity among companies and if you can succeed in marketing yourself as something valuable within an industry or group of companies then you stand a much better chance of securing employment over the short-term.

The world moves far too fast with today’s technology and mobile capabilities for businesses (and their employees) to be caught standing still.  Innovation is an important tool to the corporations of today and they seek employees with the tools to innovate independently and collectively with others.  Products, services and competitive advantages are fiercely protected in the competitive landscapes of today.  The ability of any individual to innovate or offer something innovative to a company raises their employment value tenfold.

As a young man my grandfather always told me that if you want something you have to directly pursue it with determination. 

The employers and businesses of today don’t have the time or resources to waste on figuring out what you want as a potential employee.  If you want to do, plan to do or know you can do something then tell them.  Far too often in business the less direct you are the less successful you will be in what you plan to accomplish. 

One of my core practices in business is to follow what I term as my 4-D Approach; Desire, Drive, Determination and Discipline.
This approach is derived from my belief of, “Think it, Say it, Want it, Do it.”  If you want a job with a prospective company you need to be direct enough to tell them what you want and can accomplish as their new employee now and in the future.  Demonstrate that you have the motivation to improve, succeed and achieve your goals.  Show you have the passion and enthusiasm to attain your fullest potential.  Dedicate yourself to persevere through adversity and uncertainty to achieve success.  Explain you are committed to learning, you have the patience to lead and the control to accomplish what you want.

Work Ethic

Part of my reasoning for being direct is to demonstrate to a potential employer that your work ethic is above all other candidates.  Very few people attained success in business without putting in the work and determination to get there.  Large and small companies want hard working people who are committed to excellence because they know that their customers pay a premium for quality.  They don’t want a job to be done at 80% efficiency and what businesses want, look for and spend huge financial resources on are finding their leaders of tomorrow.

Leaders of Tomorrow
Andrew Carnegie once said, “No man will make a great leader who wants to do it all for himself, or to get all the credit for doing it.

Leadership is about achieving results through others.  Possessing, understanding and portraying your skills in leadership to a prospective employer increases both your worth and usefulness to a company.  Employers want to see an employee that demonstrates maturity, intellectual curiosity, knowledge and humility.  Any employee has a steep learning curve once hired into a new corporate culture, industry or role.  Companies want individuals who are flexible, adaptive and humble enough to know that learning is part of the journey.  Great leaders never know everything but they do have the insight to know that achieving a goal is dependent on the performance of those they oversee.  The ability to handle stress within a team, to follow direction and contribute in a meaningful way are all traits that companies look for in prospective employees.

Brad Ferris is President of Triage Capital Management Incorporated.

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{ 1 comment… add one }
  • Anonymous November 26, 2009, 1:38 pm

    Thanks for tips! I find them very helpful.

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