There is plenty of buzz on the news and the blogs about what's happening on the "help wanted" front: some companies are actually stating that only the employed or recently unemployed should apply for vacant positions. This is making me furious! As if the long-term unemployed don't have enough problems without being told that they shouldn't bother; most likely to stem the paperwork In some HR department. Unbelievable!
Look - businesses have every right to define and advertise the requisite skills required for any open positions. To limit that position to only those currently employed, however, is cruel. The goal of securing the most desireable applicants for any job can be done without naming a class of people - who happen to be our fellow Americans - undesirable. This being said and in my opinion, we should be careful not to establish another protected class, i.e., "the unemployed". I'd rather that these businesses who post job openings in this way find their sense of decency and trust their hiring managers to do the rest.
OK...so I wanted to get that off my chest. However, there is a lesson to be learned from all this nonsense. Whether you are employed or unemployed, you must regularly assess your skills and ensure that they remain relevant and that you remain competitive. Keep abreast of current business trends and thinking by reading industry blogs and business periodicals. If you marry that knowledge with your experiencial learning you will develop a keen sense of how to compete for the jobs you want. Avail yourself of the right training as well. Although you may think you don't have the time for it, push yourself. Good training that will give you marketable skills will pay dividends for you going forward.
While the New York Times implies that training may not always help the unemployed, I believe that learning creates the awareness needed to underpin your next move or adjust your strategy to make your job search more effective. It can even provide you with a great idea for a business venture. Minimally, training adds depth and breadth to your resume which is critical if you want to attract a hiring manager. Also, it may be time for you to reach out to your network - those valuable business contacts that you have developed over the years - once again. Let them know what you are up to and ask them to keep you in mind for open positions. In spite of what you hear or read in the news, some things have changed for the better and those who thought highly of you might have a new opportunity that you would be perfect for. If you've kept your skills up to date you'll be ready to go.
The key takeaways are these:
- Keep abreast of what's happening in the global economy. The more you know the more you'll be able to shape your learning to align with your employment needs.
- Develop a robust network. A good network is essential to you whether employed or unemployed. These are contacts that may smooth the way for you as you move up or get you a seat at the table if you are trying to get back in, and
- Avail yourself of training if you can. Get the best for your investment in time and money. Make sure the training you select is relevant and helpful to your career goals.
I don't believe in over-regulation in business. I do believe, however, that business needs to regulate itself and consumers need to make sure that their suppliers share their values. It is shameful that any business would think that this type of negative branding - the unemployed as undesirable - is good for business. There are some great companies out there . I would encourage the business community to put pressure on their members to remember that these are real people and our fellow citizens. They deserve more than a warning that the unemployed need not apply. I for one intend to use my purchasing power in a way consistent with my values and I think I'll pass on a company who denigrates people to save themselves some paperwork. So there you go.
What do you think? If you'd like to discuss your career plans, or determine the best way to develop your network, give me a call. I'd be glad to help!
While I always miss summers at the beach, I'm glad to be home to enjoy the autumn weather and the beautiful colors of transition. Talk to you next month.