Is the job market getting better?

On the one hand, the official unemployment rate has gone up to 9.9% as of April 2010, from 9.7% the first 3 months of this year.  Did you know that 46% of those unemployed have been out of work for 6 months or more?  Did you know Asian has the lowest unemployment rate (6.8%) of all major races – whites (9.0 percent), blacks (16.5 percent), Hispanics (12.5 percent)?  and Women have a lower unemployment rate 8.2 percent as compared to men (10.1 percent)?

On the other hand, the Dow has steadily climb from it’s lowest point of 6600 in March of 2009 to 10,380 in 13 months, which means the overall economy is recovering steadily.  I regularly receive mailing from executive recruiting firms and one firm says “Market Uptick Continues: This is the fourth month in a row in which we’re seeing growth in the overall job market. Companies in virtually every sector we cover are looking to add strong talent for new strategy and business development positions.”

What does all this mean? Well, there is hope.  I know friends who are getting offers now immediately after they leave their last job.  I know people getting pinged more often now for job opportunities proactively by recruiters – all good signs for job seekers.  On the other hand, I agree with Tony Robbins and thinks the job market will never go back to what it was in the hey days when the Dow was 14,000+ in 2007.  Even if the Dow goes back up and pass that point, companies have learned a big lesson in this downturn and now knows how to operate with leaner staff.

What does this mean to you? Whether you believe the bleak statistics of the unemployment report or the glowing perhaps biased description from a headhunter firm actually does not matter.  What matters is what have you learned from this downturn?  Just like companies are getting smarter about who to hire and how to hire, you and your job search skills have to also evolve with the market.

  • Are you building portable skills so you can have more market value, flexibility and can handle future job market “mood swings?”
  • Are you building job searching skills so that you know how to make your resume stand out and how to get it into the hiring manager’s hands instead of trying to get lucky by sending out hundreds of resumes only through company website and
  • Did you learn how to tell your story better, whether in interviews or an elevator pitch in networking events?
  • Did you learn more networking skills so you can get the right help and find the inside connection to those un-published job openings?

At the end of the day, whether you have a job or looking for a job or both, it’s not just about the end goal of finding that next dream job.  It’s also about

  • learning skills in how to find suitable work anytime in your career.
  • learning how to stay in the driver seat of your career and not fall victim to external statistics or outside opinions.

Choose a belief about the job market today that empowers and inspires your efforts and just go with that.  Good luck out there!

– Lei

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