Saturday, April 25, 2009

Job Seekers: Adapt - Don't Panic

Hands up anyone out there who isn’t overwhelmed by the morass of information about all the things you need to do to manage your career or job transition. How do you feel when you see the myriad of suggestions: the do's and don'ts; the always and nevers; the 5, 10 or even 15 ways to get things right or wrong?


Well me too! And this is my profession!

Every day there are more and more statistics telling us how the old order is gone, the new one is here (at least for the next few hours, until it changes again) and we actually fail to embrace it, at our peril!

If someone had told me 10 years ago I needed to work on my SEO, I would have taken myself (somewhat halfheartedly, it has to be said) to the gym. Facebook, hitherto, the domain of the young and wild, now has my mother (age 84, and certainly not wild) on its pages, simply to keep in touch with her dispersed family. True, her location is listed as being in Florida, when she’s clearly in the North of England, but that’s a minor glitch. So technology has changed all our lives and the way we do many things, especially in the communication and processing of information. It has overturned traditional business practises at every level and new ones are coming in to take their place. The pace of change is staggering and not unsurprisingly job search and recruitment is part of this amazing revolution.

The question is how long will this new status quo last? The honest answer is that no one really knows, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Because of course, there will be even more changes. What is true today, will not be the same in 5 years. And although pundits can take educated guesses, the reality is that no one can say for certain , when and how.

So let’s look at some of the latest stats:

· 97% of CVs are not read by the human eye
· recruiters take 20 seconds to scan a CV
· 80%of recruiters look for passive candidates, before active candidates
· 43% of candidates are ruled out by because of their internet presentation
· 100m videos on You Tube -150.000 downloaded every day
· 1.2 billion users for Facebook February 2009 with a 228% growth 2008 -2009
· 1382% growth 2008- 2009 for Twitter (Nielsen wire)
· 3 million Twitter users are in 39 - 45 demographic with over 7 billion Tweets per quarter b
etween them
· 346 m read blogs every year, but some claim being impacted negatively by the Twitter boom.

So what do we learn from this? Times they are a-changing for sure. But what can we do about it? Not an original thought, but pure Darwinism, straight from the 19th century. We adapt.

"It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent; it is the one that is most adaptable to change." - Charles Darwin (1809 – 1882)

It doesn’t mean we sit with our heads in our hands being overwhelmed by tweets, pokes, blogs and IMs. It might also be advisable to re-think the idea of putting our Elevator Speeches out on You Tube from our sitting rooms, in the hope that overnight, like Susan Boyle, we might be catapulted into an international arena and have every global head hunter beating a path to our doors.

For any of you who think of music and vinyl in the same sentence – don’t panic. Because for all the changes that are going on, critical core skills, personal qualities and experiences are still valued and it’s just about tweaking, or over hauling process management and packaging. All very do-able. And don’t worry, a generation X or Y person, who texts a recruiter to say “gr8 c u l8r” is also going to have to adapt!

Career management and transition strategies should be just that: manageable, dynamic and strategic. What does this mean?

* You have to identify and set yourself achievable (= manageable) goals within your skill set, either current or attainable

* Your process has to be organic and open to change

* You have to have a structured strategy that reflects your core values and goals

The how of it all comes later….