Past Issues

March 07, 2011

Two new changes face today's job seekers

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Two new changes face today's job seekers

Two important trends have emerged in the job market that have significantly altered its landscape in the past few years. They are of profound significance to employers as well as job seekers.

First, the days of lifetime employment have vanished.

During the Great Recession it became quite clear to most American workers that no job is forever and most jobs are replaceable. Today, all careers are fluid -- workers enter a new job thinking that it will most likely only be there for a few years and that they have to think about their next steps.

They need to proactively seek out opportunity rather than depend on their employer to help out with the next step. The bottom line: Workers today should have the wherewithal to look for a job fast in the new economy of the 21st century.

Second, social media has become a powerful tool in job searches. Social media has skyrocketed as a global cultural norm for networking and sharing personal and professional information.

According to Nielsen, social network traffic grew by 43 percent between June 2009 and June 2010. It is now the single largest activity on line -- much larger than online games, e-mail and search engines. It's not surprising that social media channels such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn have become significant avenues for workers seeking jobs as well as for businesses hiring new workers.

The bottom line: job seekers should have social media skills as well as job-specific skills. This can be a challenge for those who have limited computer skills or social media experience.

A recent nationwide survey of more than 2,000 adult Americans commissioned by Jobvite.com finds that more and more Americans are using social networks to find their jobs. Here are some interesting findings in that regard:

  • More than 40% of job seekers in the sample used referrals and social networks as the sources of their most recent jobs.
  • Not surprisingly, younger job seekers used social networks to a greater extent to find their current jobs.
  • Extrapolated to the national population the survey data suggests that about 14.4 percent of Americans got their most recent job via social networks.
  • Of job seekers who used social networks to find their recent job, a higher percentage were younger, more educated, and higher earning adults.
The survey also found that 53% (65 million) of all working Americans can be identified as "proactive career managers (PCM)." This large segment of our work force is not actively seeking employment but is busy cultivating relationships to enhance their career options and discover new opportunities. A deeper look into the data suggest that they never stop looking for their next opportunity. This segment of employed Americans has not been identified in the past.

A profile of PCMs suggests that they are younger; earn higher salaries; are well educated. In addition they are:
  • Very proactive -- 73% active in job search in the past year.
  • Great networkers -- 77% use Facebook, Twitter (36 percent), and LinkedIn (28 percent)
  • Well connected -- more than half have 50-plus contacts on Facebook, 18 percent have 50-plus contacts on Twitter, and 17 percent have 50-plus contacts on LinkedIn.
What does this all mean for the job market in the 21st century?

Learning to navigate social network channels effectively will greatly enhance the chances of success for job seekers.
  • Job seekers need to be proactive in the job market by using social media to extend their personal networks to uncover more opportunities.
  • Employed workers need to cultivate their network of job opportunities via the social media which they can use in times of need, such as at a hint of a layoff or business slowdown.
  • Smart companies have gone social--they promote their jobs and cultivate networks of prospective employees via the social media to generate candidates for their job openings.
  • The most successful companies have hundreds of brand ambassadors -- employees who love their firm and talk about it-- from the best latte to the best company to work for.
Tapan Munroe can be reached at TapanMunroe.com. Read about his new book in the blog site: http://ClosingAmericasjobgap.com.

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