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Positive hiring trends at year-end 2010 included:
Despite those positive hiring trends, economists are still painting a dim picture of the 2011 job market because US companies aren’t creating enough jobs to employ everyone in America who’s unemployed.
What’s more, any brightening in the employment outlook will draw back into the job market millions of discouraged workers who stopped looking for work during the recession.
“We have 500,000 people that have dropped out of the workforce in California alone,” says Jeffrey Michael, PhD, director of the Business Forecasting Center at the University of the Pacific in Stockton, California. “As the job market improves, they’re going to be coming back in, so it’s going to continue to be difficult to find work.”
Marisa Di Natale, a director of Moody’s Analytics, agrees. “Our forecast is that job growth will continue, but 2011 is still going to be a tough year,” she says. “It will take until 2012 to see significant enough job growth to put a dent in overall unemployment, which will peak at 10 percent in the third quarter of 2011.”
Hiring Outlook Better for Skilled Workers
While many organizations are waiting to pull the trigger on hiring until the economy’s turnaround solidifies, selective hiring will get under way in early 2011, says Mark Szypko, managing director at Salary.com, which powers Monster’s Salary Wizard. “More calls will be coming in from recruiters, and job boards will be filling up as organizations [look] to fill the pipeline for when it is time to start hiring,” he says.
Among the more promising hiring trends: improving prospects for science and tech workers, Michael says. “We’ll see better growth in technical fields related to computers and engineering,” he predicts.
The best 2011 employment bets nationally will be anything involving aging, disease, economic recovery or education, says Kathryn Foster, PhD, director of the University at Buffalo’s Regional Institute. “If you’re able and interested in working with older people, there are going to be a lot of job openings,” she says. “The number of people choosing to go into gerontologic fields hasn’t kept up with demand.”
Poor Hiring Outlook for Some Sectors
However, the hiring outlook for some industries will continue to be bleak throughout 2011.
The construction industry has shed millions of employees — from unskilled laborers to highly skilled architects and engineers. “We’ve bottomed out in housing,” Michael says. “We’ll see some job growth [there] in 2012 and 2013. But the pool of unemployed workers with construction skill sets is so large that even double-digit growth won’t be sufficient to mop up the pool of unemployed laborers.”
Foster advises staying away from traditional construction and manufacturing, as well as production jobs in utilities and transportation.
Salary Projections for 2011
Reports from a number of salary experts, including Aon Hewitt, indicate that while companies plan to increase their overall salary budgets by 2.8 percent in 2011, they won’t be spreading the wealth evenly.
“Most organizations still seem to be focused on ensuring that the increased dollars are spent wisely,” Szypko says. “Getting an increase is no longer an entitlement. Getting a bonus is no longer an entitlement. If you want a raise or a bonus you need to move into the upper echelon of performers within your organization.”
If you’re currently unemployed, there is one ray of sunshine for you in 2011: Congress voted to extend unemployment benefits through the year.
Some older workers are lucky enough to already have a job, and so they simply choose to hold onto it. But there are also many people in their 50s, 60s, and even beyond who are on the job market, unemployed but looking.
Some of these people were already retired or semi-retired, but have decided to “unretire,” because they’re having trouble making ends meet. Or in some cases older people return to the work force simply because they’re bored and looking for a more productive, fulfilling way to spend their time.
Jobs for people over 50 are sometimes called “retirement jobs,” though perhaps “alternative-to-retirement jobs” would be more fitting.
For those seniors and soon-to-be seniors who are on the job market, for whatever reason, here are some avenues to consider:
Sometimes the most promising route for an older person is not to try to convince someone else to hire them, but to start an enterprise of their own. With decades of life experience and work experience, an older person likely has many skills that could be the foundation for their own business.
This can be a traditional brick and mortar business, but doesn’t have to be. There is also money to be made through eBay and the Internet, or a booth at a farmers market or street fair. Someone who does crafts, sewing, freelance writing, gardening or small scale farming, etc. can take advantage of numerous outlets to sell their wares, and not have to worry about satisfying an employer.
3. Sticking around one’s last job
Whether by the employer’s choice or the employee’s choice, there are times an older worker isn’t destined to remain in their present job. However, this needn’t be an all or nothing thing. According to a study by Cornell University, 75% of employers report that they would be willing to keep their older employees at reduced hours who otherwise would be leaving their employ entirely. 26% would allow those part time employees to retain their health benefits, and 40% would allow them to start drawing their pension if they kept working part time past retirement age.
Most of these employers, though, don’t make this known unless the subject comes up, and most workers don’t know to inquire about such an option when they step down from their full time position.
4. Online job search engines
Older workers, just like anyone else on the job market, have nearly endless resources available online nowadays. Sites like Monster, Career Builder, and Craigslist post thousands if not millions of available jobs. These and other sites also have areas to post resumes so one can be found by potential employers instead of having to find them, as well as articles, posting forums, etc. to help with all stages of job hunting.
There are also plenty of relevant resources at the AARP site, which has a whole section devoted to older people in the work force, with material on job hunting, starting a business, the rights of older workers, and more.
Ten factors that will impact the 2020 workplace:
What it is: By 2020, the American workplace population will be more diverse: 63 percent white, 30 percent Latino, and 50 percent female. Four or even five generations, from Boomers to Generation 2020, will be working at once.
How it helps you: Companies going global will need to incorporate the experiences and backgrounds of a diverse workforce. Teams will be built up of workers of different gender, race and generation — and even workers of different nations.
2. Rise of business ethics
What it is: Companies that once only operated for profit will place new emphasis on the importance of their people, as well as the impact their existence has on the planet. The new bottom line will incorporate profit, people and planet.
How it helps you: An emphasis on doing good means companies will strive to be environmentally friendly. Plus, the ability for workers to give real-time feedback about their leaders ensures leaders will be held to their worker’s standards.
3. Social technology
What it is: Vlogging, Twitter, intranet chat rooms, Skyping — even today, there’s a vast array of online communication tools, with more to come.
How it helps you: The use of social technology means real-time feedback loops as well as facilitating offsite work teams. Social technologies will also enhance informal and peer-to-peer learning.
4. Mobile workplace
What it is: Increasingly powerful mobile phones are replacing laptops as the main work device.
How it helps you: Advanced Internet capabilities on your cell mean accessing your “desk” anywhere, anytime. Welcome to the “third place”: If the office is the first job site and the home office the second, the “third place” is anywhere your phone is.
5. Work/life flexibility
What it is: For younger generations, work is a significant part of their life, but they don’t compartmentalize it like older generations tend to. It isn’t about work-life “balance”; it’s about work/life integration.
How it helps you: Flexibility tools like web commuting and “third place” working will help replace the 9-to-5 workday with a goal accomplishment one (meeting goals regardless of what time of day the work was done), which will help companies boost the job satisfaction of their employees.
6. Serious play
What it is: “Sims” (Simulated Games) is the new buzz word in training: Online Sims allow employees to learn new jobs through low-risk direct practice.
How it helps you: Training will start to look like the games we’ve come to love, and studies show that Sims are effective methods for accelerating competence across the employee spectrum.
What it is: One-on-one mentoring is still a powerful way to develop employees, but companies will also use reverse-, micro- and group-mentoring.
How it helps you: Increased emphasis on mentoring means that your professional development will get a super-charge via direct input from company leaders as well as from your peers. Best of all, your opinions and skills are given new value as you reverse-mentor others, meaning that you will be tasked with teaching those senior to you about your role.
8. Democratization of information
What it is: Digital record keeping makes company information accessible to all.
How it helps you: The end of hierarchies! More employees will be tapped to help shape policy, project management and solve problems, rather than just follow orders.
9. Personal branding
What it is: Social technologies track personal ratings, referrals and reputations.
How it helps you: A good reputation has the same value in the future as it does now: It makes you a highly desired employee who can set your own value in the marketplace.
10. Talent shortage
What it is: There’s a big gap between all the Boomers retiring and the number of Generation X’ers available to fill their shoes.
How it helps you: The demand for 2020 leaders will result in more concentrated employee development and faster promotions for younger workers!
Although it’s a ways off, you can start preparing for the 2020 workplace by:
If you are serious about finding a new job, then you need to put more time and dedication into the process and one way to accomplish this feat is to set aside a week to focus solely on your job-search. This process involves starting each day with a set of goals to accomplish and then spending the day doing your best to achieve them.
By following the guidelines in this article, you should be well on your way to laying the foundation for a new job.
Day 1 of Your Job-Search
Your goal for this day is to establish your job-search goals and to get organized. These two activities are essential to job-hunting success.
The ideal goal is one or more solid job leads by the end of the week, but you may have some other goals too, such as expanding your network of contacts and researching further educational or training opportunities.
Organization is essential. You can too easily waste time the entire week if you don’t step up the planning an organizing. Consider setting up some spreadsheets or logs for your network, for job leads, and for other aspects of your job search.
Day 2 of Your Job-Search
Your goal for this day is to make an inventory of your accomplishments, develop your USP, and analyze your network of contacts.
Before you can even begin to analyze your resume or work on your interviewing skills, you have to spend the time describing and categorizing accomplishments from all your relevant work experiences including school projects if you are a new grad. Review all your past experiences and brainstorm the impact you made how you performed the job differently than anyone else and what results you achieved. Whenever possible, try to quantify those accomplishments.
Once you’ve identified all your accomplishments, you can start on your unique selling proposition (USP). Your USP is the thing that makes you different better than all the other job-seekers. Your USP sets you apart. You’ll want to craft your USP into about a 10-15 word statement that you can use on your career marketing documents as well as in interviews. Some experts also refer to this statement as your elevator pitch.
The final part of your day should be analyzing and mapping your network of contacts. Your network is the people with whom you have a relationship family, friends, neighbors, colleagues, mentors, former bosses. And your network actually can extend to the networks of all the people you know. Your goal is to organize and prioritize your list of network contacts so that you’ll be prepared to contact the people who will most likely have access to or knowledge of job openings in your field.
Day 3 of Your Job-Search
Your goal for this day is to perfect your career marketing documents and spend more time on networking.
Now that you have identified your accomplishments, you can write a new resume or revise your existing resume. Actually, what you’ll be doing is perfecting your resume foundation because with each job opportunity, you’ll want to modify your resume to reflect the specific requirements of the job as well as use some of the words and phrases the prospective employer uses to describe the position. There simply is no such thing as one-resume-fits-all anymore.
Finally, if you have any concerns about your resume your most important job-hunting document consider having it critiqued by a resume professional.
The other important career marketing document is your cover letter. While the goal of your resume is to obtain an interview, the goal of your cover letter is simply to get your resume read. Your cover letter must be dynamic and concise. Your goal should be to develop a solid cover letter core that you will modify for each opportunity.
An oft-neglected marketing document is your list of references. Take the time now to review who you currently have listed, brainstorm some other possibilities, and most importantly, contact each person you have listed or want to list and be sure they are willing to be listed as a reference for you. Remember that you do not have to list former bosses as references; use people who know your work and will speak highly of it and of you.
The last part of your day should be spent on networking. First, send your newly revised resume to your key network members. Do not ask for a job, but ask for their help in identifying possible job opportunities. You should also look into ways to add new members to your network.
Day 4 of Your Job-Search
Your goal for this day is to exhaust all possible avenues for job leads.
First, follow-up with your network about any possible job opportunities because these leads will have the most likelihood for success.
Second, develop a list of prospective employers in your target area and then conduct an in-depth research campaign to learn more about each one, obtaining the name and contact information of the hiring manager for your area of expertise. Remember to check each organization’s job postings to see if there are any openings that match your qualifications.
Third, research and contact recruiters and temporary agencies that place job-seekers with your expertise.
Fourth, talk with the career services and alumni offices at your previous (or current) educational institutions and obtain possible networking and job leads.
Fifth, search some of the online job boards for possible leads. Don’t just search the major boards; consider geographic-specific or industry/profession niche boards.
Sixth, consider conducting some informational interviews. This networking tool often leads to the discovery of other job opportunities as well as strengthening/broadening your knowledge of a particular industry/profession and expanding your network.
Send or deliver cover letter and resume packets to the hiring manager for each of the leads you uncover.
Day 5 of Your Job-Search
Your goal for this day is to prepare for job interviews and follow-up on job leads.
The best way to secure a job offer is to perform strongly in job interviews, and the best way to perform strongly in job interviews is through preparation. The most basic preparation you can do is to review a list of typical job interview questions, such as you can find in our Job Interview Questions Database for Job-Seekers.
The next level of preparation is to uncover the types of interviews or interview questions that are most likely for your industry/profession. You can learn more here: Job Interviewing Resources for Job-Seekers.
The deepest level of preparation is to actually write your answers to expected interview questions. There’s considerable research that shows that this type of preparation helps you better retain the answers, thus helping you perform better in the actual interview. Just remember not to memorize your answers.
Finally, remember to format your answers to interview questions as short stories illustrative anecdotes that focus on your actions, accomplishments, and learning experiences.
And as the day progresses, remember to continue to track down and follow-up all job leads. Schedule interviews.
Day 6 of Your Job-Search
Your goal for this day is to continue following-up all job leads as well as pursue further career development.
Continue to work the phones, emails, and hit the pavement in your quest to uncover and follow-up on all job leads.
While you are waiting for the results of all your efforts, you may want to consider strengthening your interviewing preparation by developing a career portfolio. Your career portfolio contains an archive of job-search materials that help document your qualifications… your accomplishments. Portfolios often contain samples of your work, letters of accommodation/recommendation, awards and honors you’ve received, client testimonials, professional development, and much more.
Day 7 of Your Job-Search
Your goal for this day is to continue following-up all job leads, scheduling interviews, and considering other options to take.
Your persistence in tracking down job leads will pay off greatly, so keep at it.
You should now have several hot prospects on your radar.
However, if, at the end of the day, the end of the week, you have gotten little or no interest from all your hard work, you may want to consider working with a career professional to review all aspects of your job-search campaign. Sometimes an outsider can see and help you fix some minor issues that are holding you back from achieving your goals.
Finally, remember to keep your network in the loop and send thank-you notes to everyone who helped you in your job search.
The one-week job-search lays the foundation for a successful job-hunt, but you may not see the results of all your hard work for weeks or months after this intensive seven-day effort. You may get lucky and be in the right place at the right time, but if your one-week efforts do not lead to any solid job leads, the best advice is to keep at it. The average job-search takes months, so don’t get discouraged — just keep following-up all job leads and keep uncovering new ones.
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