“Dear Pete: How do I find a job in this economy? No one is hiring, and the competition for open positions is incredibly high.”
Whenever job-seekers ask me “How do I find a job in this economy?” I always reply by asking them this question: How many jobs do you need to get?
Look, you don’t need to get 1,000 jobs, or 100 jobs, or even 3 jobs. You just need to get one job.
As obvious as this is, many people forget this. If you are struggling right now, I’m not trying to make you feel badly. I understand that many talented people have been thrust into difficult situations in this economy due to circumstances out of their control. However, you need to keep the economy in proper perspective. You don’t need to fix the recession. You just need to get one job. That’s all you should be thinking about.
In comparison to many people, I actually believe that right now is the best time in history to get any job you want. Before you tell me I’m crazy, here are 3 reasons why:
- The world is more well-connected than it has ever been before. Facebook has over 800 million worldwide users, and LinkedIn has over 150 million worldwide users (both as of early 2012). By using these web sites, you can easily keep track of your personal and professional networks and even get automatic updates when people change jobs or careers. You can access anyone’s entire employment history online and learn where they have worked in the past. You can run advanced searches and find influential people that you have a shared connection or affiliation with. Perhaps most importantly, you can see who your contacts know. Think about that for a second. You can literally see someone’s professional rolodex on LinkedIn. (As long as someone has not set their connections to private, just click on the word “Connections” on someone’s profile summary, and you will be able to see everyone he knows.)
- More “insider information” is publicly available than ever before. Through social media sites like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and You-Tube (among others), it’s easier than ever before to take an inside peek at employers, fields, and industries. For example, LinkedIn has over 1 million discussion groups. Through these information-rich sources, you have access to all prior discussion archives where you can gather industry insights that will prove immensely valuable during your networking or interviews. You can also connect with people all over the world (for free) in any organization, field, industry, or career path you could possibly imagine. In other words, you can literally become an “industry insider” without ever having worked in an industry.
- It’s never been easier to stand out (in a good way) as a job-seeker. There are no barriers to being perceived as an expert these days. You can brand yourself as a valuable, proactive, unique candidate (again, for free) by demonstrating your knowledge or expertise through a blog, through You-Tube, through Twitter, through LinkedIn discussion groups, and so on. In addition, over 89% of employers used social media for recruiting purposes in 2011, and that number has surely increased by now. In other words, people who have the power to hire you (or refer you) are all over these web sites desperately looking for top talent. Job-seekers who embrace these tools can connect with and impress decision-makers who would have been virtually impossible to access just a few years ago.
Will it take hard work to land the job of your dreams right now? Of course.
Is social media a magic bullet? Of course not. It’s just a tool that must be used correctly.
However, there are unprecedented resources available to job-seekers who embrace the opportunities currently available. I’m not the only person with an optimistic outlook. Here’s an abbreviated quote from the blog of Darren Hardy, New York Times Best-Selling Author and Publisher of Success Magazine.
“… the sea of changes we’ve experienced over the past few years have unearthed possibilities unlike anything ever seen before…everything — I mean, everything — is up for grabs. This, combined with recent technological innovations, has changed the game forever. Today, we are all wired directly to each other… The world has been made flat, and so has the playing field of opportunity. Fifty years from now your children and children’s children will look back with envy — wishing they were you, right here, right now, in 2012, when this new frontier was still unclaimed.”
You have 2 choices right now. You can join the masses and blame “this economy” if your career or job search is not where you want it to be, or you can embrace the opportunities in front of you due to recent technological innovation. Which perspective will you choose?