Published November 25, 2009
If you’re among the 10.2% that remain unemployed, you probably realize that the 2009 holiday season that begins with Thanksgiving will certainly present unique challenges. I wanted to share some thoughts I had after hearing a stock broker interviewed this morning comparing Thanksgiving 2008 to 2009 from his perspective. Bear in mind what economists have told us for decades regarding the stock market and labor market’s relationship with the economy. Stock is a leading indicator- predicting future results while the labor market is a lagging indicator-growing after the economy gets moving.
This stock broker described how his world looked last Thanksgiving. The markets were in a free-fall. Long term financial institutions were going belly up. Some reports predicted the fall was only the beginning of a slide into our first Depression in more than eighty years. One year later, the stock market is on a streak of eight consecutive growth months. The S&P index, for one, is up 61% (I’m quoting him). His main point was that in the face of last year’s market and all the gloom and doom reports in the news, anyone stepping forward and predicting that by Thanksgiving 2009 the markets would be on an eight month winning streak probably would have been laughed at. Yet that’s exactly where we stand at Thanksgiving 2009.
Now we know at Thanksgiving 2009 we have the highest unemployment rate in several decades. I realize that the relationship between stock and labor market has not always been absolute, but in many cycles the trends have followed each other. You can call me Pollyanna, but I certainly believe that there’s enough evidence to have optimism that 2010 will see improvements in the labor market. If you recall during the heights of the recessions of the early 1980’s and early 1990’s, few predicted that the labor market would rebound as strongly as it did in each case. Perhaps by Thanksgiving 2010, many will be as pleasantly surprised at the labor market rebound as this broker is about the stock market’s 2009 rebound.
On the topic of things to be thankful for, many in a prolonged job search discover how supportive their family and friends can truly be. Through networking, they also meet new friends and colleagues that have made a positive impact on their lives. Give thanks for those that have made this difficult year easier for you.
Published November 18, 2009
Introducing Networking for the Novice, Nervous, or Naïve Job Seeker My name is Tom Dezell and I have spent more than twenty-five years in the field of career development. Far fetched as it initially seems, I began my career with a Criminal Justice degree and spent my formative years as a caseworker in work release facilities. My first career coaching involved preparing offenders to convince employers that a felony conviction should not exclude them from job consideration. After attaining success in this field, I moved on to assist welfare recipients and injured workers in job development. (Believe it or not, of the three populations, the felons were the easiest to place.) I currently work as a Career Advisor at Maryland’s Professional Outplacement Assistance Center (POAC). The only state run program of its kind in the nation, POAC provides career services to professional, executive, technical and managerial job seekers. This gives me the unique perspective of assisting job seekers ranging from convicted felons to C-level executives. It has also taught me that no matter what level of the job seeker, all are vulnerable to similar flawed job search strategies. Years of watching one particular flaw stall hundreds of job searches gave me the impetus to write the book. One can not read too far into the topic of job search without discovering the statistics regarding how few job openings become advertised; maximum of 20%. Additionally, it won’t take long to discover that the most common way jobs are filled is through networking; numbers range from 50 to 80% depending on the study. Despite these realities, most job seekers will quickly admit that networking is the strategy that causes them the most difficulty, and they tend to avoid it. Unfortunately, the advent of Internet job search boards makes this easier. With more than 100,000 employment-related site to choose from, a job seeker can easily delude oneself into the notion that spending 50+ hours a week on the Internet makes for an effective job search. Yes, you’re working hard, but I can’t say you’re working smart. My book focuses on why job seekers avoid networking. Simply put, people fear it. Reaching out to others frightens many people in many situations. Doing so in a job search becomes even more difficult due to how vulnerable we often feel in that process. I challenge the reader to confront their fear and attack the common misconceptions (or excuses) about networking that people use to avoid it. I also stress how networking makes one a stronger candidate and outline strategies to improve networking. Experience often provides the best teaching. I use stories of experiences job seekers I have worked with throughout my career to illustrate key points. I want to encourage readers to share their experiences on how networking landed them a job. Go to http://www.yournetworkingguide.com , click on email@example.com to share your experience. Tom Dezell Committed to improving Networking skills for the Novice, Nervous or Naive Job Seeker.