Platt Perspective on Business and Technology

Discerning the 21st century workforce – preparing to succeed in it – 4

Posted in job search and career development by Timothy Platt on June 4, 2011

This is my fourth installment in what has turned out to be a series on long term, structural changes in employment and employability (see my Guide to Effective Job Search and Career Development, supplemental postings 22-24 for parts 1-3.)

So far I have discussed cyclical and short term reversible change, and structural and longer term, persistent change and how both are currently taking place in the marketplace and the economy as a whole. For the purpose of this series I have focused attention primarily on longer term and structural change, and I have attempted to lay a foundation for responding to that in job searches and in longer term career management. And I finished Part 3 of this series with a set of observations that I will pick up from here, with this posting.

Businesses that would otherwise hire, and have reason to hire see an emerging pattern of structural change in the business climate and marketplace that they function within. This creates uncertainty for them and a significant potential for risk if they do not act prudently in their decision making processes. And staff hiring and retention have to be considered key factors in that as personnel costs tend to be so large a part of fixed operating expenses for most businesses, and most of the time.

• So any prospective employment candidate who can present themselves as reducing this uncertainty, or limiting this risk would be very attractive.
• Effective job search and career development should include short term tactics and longer term strategies for approaching and presenting to prospective employers, as a risk reduction opportunity.

One way to do this, would of course be in the specific nature of the jobs applied for and skills and experience that could be offered. Some types of job hiring and some types of candidate will always have an easier time moving forward in an uncertain employment climate. But there are also approaches that can help any prospective job candidate to at least improve their odds in this, in the more general jobs market too.

• Think outside of the usual pattern of job search for landing a standard full time in-house position. Look for opportunities to stay busy, and to actively develop bullet points on your resume, for work done and even if it is for work done on a shorter term or part time basis.
• Consider doing temp work and research your options, and with all of the pros and cons that you would face from this, in your geographic area, your fields of expertise, your type of position and so on. What barriers would you face going temp to permanent if you did this through an agency as their employee? Learn what the right questions are and strive to find effective approaches to resolving them so this can be a basic area of opportunity for you.
• Consider consulting work, and marketing yourself as a consultant. Consultants are generally brought in to solve specific high priority issues for the hiring company, and success in this can open doors to further work, either as a consultant or as a more full time and in-house hire. I will be posting extensively on consulting per se in the coming months, to continue from postings already added here, related to that.
• Consider part time in-house positions, which may be of particular importance for some businesses at peak periods where extra hands are needed. And I add most functional areas offer at least some peak period opportunities and for many types of businesses.
• Use informational interviews to fact-find and learn about the options that you would more effectively be able to present to potential hiring managers, and informational interview and network around to find potential hiring mangers to help get your name out to them as they do their due diligence.

The types of position I write of here do not generally come with benefits packages, reducing employer expenses up-front as they test out the viability of a new hire. These positions also tend to fall outside of union or other group benefits agreements. So a job seeker pursuing this type of position has to cover expenses that would be involved here on their own. But for consultants certainly, these extra costs are often included in the compensation terms agreed to, as they are not open ended expenses for the hiring company as they would be for a full time hire.

I have only touched lightly on a few of the details here as to specific options available. I will be delving into more details on this in my upcoming consulting-oriented postings. Here, my goal is simply to provoke some thought as to other options – options other than the ones more routinely and automatically turned to.

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