Staying Afloat in Today’s Crowded Talent Pool


In today’s crowded job market, laid off employees are competing with college graduates. While there are some inherent challenges, this is also great training for corporate America where formidable problems need to be solved all the time with the same perseverance, motivation and indomitable spirit the job search requires. If you are a recent graduate, or you are graduating this spring, here are some things to think about and act on:

1) If you have a job which you consider beneath your means, make the most out of it. The days where employees could have an attitude of entitlement are gone. Whatever job you do have, ask how you can contribute to your company, your boss and your own professional development. This may mean coming in early, leaving late, helping a co-worker to learn a skill, or taking on an extra assignment without pay from your manager.

2) If you are trying to get a foot in the door at a company, consider working there as a consultant or without pay for one month so that the company can see what you are capable of accomplishing. You need to shine and show your value relative to anyone else they may consider. Allowing them to see your work and relationships first-hand will show them that in spades.

3) Consider working a job, even if it is minimum wage, to bring in your rent and food money while you spend a few days a week working as an intern or getting your foot in the door as in suggestion #2 above. Create a strict budget, cut everything that isn’t essential. The benefit of working for someone as a consultant or for free is that they will often be willing to give you a strong letter of recommendation even if they can’t hire you. You need at least three strong references to speak to your abilities and contribution over time. Ideally those people are all work references, but you can have two work references and one professor if you are just graduating.

4) Surround yourself with pro-active people. This is a tough time, but the people who will be valued the most are the ones who are willing to work hard, even in a volunteer capacity, make appointments daily and keep their resolve strong. The same qualities that make you a success in the job hunt, are the same qualities which make you a success once you get that job.

Wall Street Journal
In February, President Obama signed into law the much debated and anticipated $787 billion economic stimulus bill, a plan designed with a primary focus on countering recent, unprecedented job losses. This legislation cannot come quickly enough for the 4.4 million Americans who’ve lost their jobs since Dec. 2007. The past two months were particularly brutal, with layoffs announced seemingly daily by such industry stalwarts as Microsoft, Starbucks, Pfizer, Caterpillar, Home Depot, Macy’s and Nissan. Even CEOs have felt the blow, with more than 60 terminated in 2008 and up to 150 expected to lose the top spot by the end of 2009. While the stimulus package is said to save or create three to four million jobs, this will depend on how efficiently the money is distributed over the next 12 to24 months.

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