I thought it would be appropriate to begin 2013 with a Chinese proverb “Trees that do not bend in the wind won’t last the storm.” A bit random? The general forecast for 2013 and the Employment Market is a little bit – not exactly stormy – but growth is not really predicted, in fact, my own research tends towards a slight rise in unemployment, which in real terms means that if you are looking for work…the competition will get a little tougher this year.
Am I trying to depress? Absolutely not!! And how does this proverb help?
Simply put, the tree survives by not fighting the external pressure put upon it. It can’t change the wind, but it accommodates it, making changes to itself. So what does this mean in practice? There is not a great deal that we can do – individually – to change the UK Employment prospects, what we can do is make changes to ourselves….how so?
First of all…ignore the forecast as much as you can, it isn’t good for morale or your motivation levels, there is nothing you can do about the state of the economy. What you can do is ‘bend’ in order to survive! Allow me to relate a very well-coined phrase, often heard in the offices of JobCentre Plus…”there’s no jobs!” Yet, during my time with this noble institution I spoke with many people across the network that suggested that in their office, there were more vacancies than there were Job Seekers. This was not the case in every area and just because there appears to be more vacancies than job seekers does not mean that they are full time or even decent vacancies. More recent statistics suggest that that are (countrywide) more unemployed people than there are jobs at the moment, but it is dangerous to look at statistics to get a completely accurate picture.
For example, a Jobcentre could be advertising three vacancies on one day – one could attract 200 applicants, one could attract 20 applicants and the other could attract zero applicants – statistics would suggest that each vacancy attracted 74ish applicants…but that isn’t true. If you would like a real rant on statistics and how they can mislead, get in touch via email!! Suffice to relate the old adage ‘Lies, damn lies and statistics!’
Secondly, you should review your own goals in line with how well (or poorly) your own industry is performing at the moment. ‘There are no jobs’ could really mean that there are fewer jobs within the industry at the moment. This does not mean that this will be the case forever! Could you do something else in the meantime? The worst thing to have on your CV is a gap – a sudden (apparent) about-turn mid-career is easier to explain than a gaping wound.
If you cannot change your job…could you change within your industry. In recent years, more and more roles are being Outsourced, this is viewed negatively by some, not so by the free-lancers who are willing (and financially able) to pick up the slack and set up as a consultant within their sphere of expertise.
Thirdly…and back to statistics, and please do not accuse me of being cynical or mercenary. Just because a person is registered as a job seeker does not mean that he or she is actually doing any seeking of jobs…I know, shocking right? It is a fact that, because of a million and one reasons too complex to go into here, not all who appear to be competitors are in fact…competitors. Whilst it appears we are doing battle with two point something million battle-hardened job seeking veterans….we’re not!!
It all comes back to what we are doing as an individual to improve our Candidate-appeal. At the risk of repeating myself. Up-to-date, cutting edge CV, online presence, Social Media networking etc etc. Interview preparation…more of the same, but the point is – if you are not having success at the moment – don’t give up and keep bending.
Dave Smith of Career Visa UK is our leading authority when it comes to personal careers advice.
He has worked in the UK recruitment industry since 1991 and is now an expert Jobsearch Consultant specialising in CV creation and improvement. If you need help in preparing to enter the Job Market for the first time or are planning on a career change – simply get in touch via his website http://www.careervisa.co.uk/. You can also read more at his online blog at http://careervisa.blogspot.com/