Why You Should Be Optimistic About the Future

ID-100259621When you turn on the news, all you hear about are recessions, budget cuts, unemployment, and debt.  It’s enough to bring anyone down, but if you’re looking for a job, it can leave you feeling completely discouraged.  However, maybe it’s not as bad as it seems.  Could there be some hidden opportunities there?  Here are some good reasons to stay optimistic:

Social media and emerging technology have created new opportunities.
There are opportunities available now that weren’t even considered ten years ago.  For example, through social media job seekers can express themselves publicly and connect with people who work in their industry.  Try to determine how you can use these trends to your advantage and get excited about it!  The future can be amazing if you’re willing to embrace it.

A positive attitude will make you more successful.  The reality is that you will be more successful in your career if you have a positive outlook.  Optimistic people are more motivated and better able to weather the ups and downs of the job search process than their pessimistic counterparts.  Also, positive, enthusiastic candidates are much more attractive to potential employers.

It’s in your hands.  Even in the worst labour market, there are jobs available.  People retire, get sick, have babies, go to school, get promoted and move on to other companies.  It may take longer, but you can still get hired if you go about it in the right way.  The key is to position yourself so that you possess skills that are in demand, to develop a strong network, and to be flexible.  It may be worth accepting an entry-level position to get your foot in the door of a great company.

When it comes right down to it, the only constant is change. The labour market changes so quickly that reports are often out of date before they’re even published.  You have to keep your ear to the ground to be aware of what new trends are emerging and which industries are in decline.  To be successful in today’s world, you need to be adaptable and always prepared to redefine  yourself.  None of us know what tomorrow brings, but if you are willing to embrace that uncertainty, you’re in a strong position to succeed.

(Written by: Karen Bivand, Image Courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net)

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Why You Shouldn’t Worry About Unemployment

Recently, there has been a lot of talk about the high unemployment rate.  As a job seeker, this number can be downright scary.  However, the reality is that labour market conditions may not be as bad as they initially appear.  Here are some reasons why you shouldn’t let the unemployment rate get you down:

Worrying About it Doesn’t Help. 

Unfortunately, there is very little that you can do to improve the unemployment rate.  You have to work within the current labour market conditions.  Obsessing about the unemployment rate doesn’t help you find a job.  It only stresses you out and distracts you from tasks that are actually productive.

The Unemployment Rate Varies by Industry and Location. 

When looking at labour market information, it is important that you read the fine print.  Even if the national unemployment rate is high, there may still be a lot of jobs available in your region, or in your industry.  Before you jump to any conclusions, look at the demand for your target job within your city.

There are Always Some Jobs Available.

Even when the unemployment rate is painfully high, there are still jobs available.  Reports still need to be written, shipments still need to be delivered, buildings still need to be built, and the world moves on.  People go on vacations, have babies, retire, and change jobs.  All of this action means that there are always some openings available, even if it’s just a few.  The key is to customize your resume to show the employer that you are the perfect fit.

There’s More to the Story.

Whether the unemployment rate is 5% or 25%, it does not tell the whole story.  It may include people who don’t want a job and people who aren’t looking effectively.  The number of people who are actively looking for work may actually be a lot smaller.  Don’t waste time worrying about the unemployment rate.  Instead, stay focused on your own job search.

You shouldn’t stress yourself out about the unemployment rate, but that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t be doing labour market research.  Do your homework and determine how much demand there is for your target job.  If you find that there are not a lot of jobs available, it may be a good idea to shift your focus.

(Written by: Karen Bivand)

Why You Shouldn’t Worry About Unemployment

Recently, there has been a lot of talk about the high unemployment rate.  As a job seeker, this number can be downright scary.  However, the reality is that labour market conditions may not be as bad as they initially appear.  Here are some reasons why you shouldn’t let the unemployment rate get you down:

Worrying About it Doesn’t Help. 

Unfortunately, there is very little that you can do to improve the unemployment rate.  You have to work within the current labour market conditions.  Obsessing about the unemployment rate doesn’t help you find a job.  It only stresses you out and distracts you from tasks that are actually productive.

The Unemployment Rate Varies by Industry and Location. 

When looking at labour market information, it is important that you read the fine print.  Even if the national unemployment rate is high, there may still be a lot of jobs available in your region, or in your industry.  Before you jump to any conclusions, look at the demand for your target job within your city.

There are Always Some Jobs Available.

Even when the unemployment rate is painfully high, there are still jobs available.  Reports still need to be written, shipments still need to be delivered, buildings still need to be built, and the world moves on.  People go on vacations, have babies, retire, and change jobs.  All of this action means that there are always some openings available, even if it’s just a few.  The key is to customize your resume to show the employer that you are the perfect fit.

There’s More to the Story.

Whether the unemployment rate is 5% or 25%, it does not tell the whole story.  It may include people who don’t want a job and people who aren’t looking effectively.  The number of people who are actively looking for work may actually be a lot smaller.  Don’t waste time worrying about the unemployment rate.  Instead, stay focused on your own job search.

You shouldn’t stress yourself out about the unemployment rate, but that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t be doing labour market research.  Do your homework and determine how much demand there is for your target job.  If you find that there are not a lot of jobs available, it may be a good idea to shift your focus.

(Written by: Karen Bivand)

What Jobs are Available RIGHT NOW?

‘Labour Market Information’ sounds like a vague concept that has little to do with your job search. However, if you don’t pay attention to labour market information, you could find yourself competing with a lot of people for a very limited number of jobs. If you understand the labour market, you are able to target jobs with more positions available and less competitors. Learning about labour market information can be a little overwhelming at first, so it is good to start simple.

Here is a list of the top 11 jobs in Canada in 2011 based on salary increases and skills shortages. This list comes from survey results released by Robert Half. (From http://www.workingincanada.gc.ca/)

1. ERP Business Analyst ($80,000 – $105,000)

Looks at how the business functions down to supply chain, purchasing, customer service, staffing, etc. and implements and fine tunes the Enterprise Resource Planning System in order to reduce timelines and maximize profits.

2. IT Auditor ($74.5,000 – $97,000)

Audits and reviews information systems for compliance with regulations.

3. Lead Application Developer ($78,750 – $109,000)

Manages development of the company’s computer applications.

4. Performance Analyst ($56,250 – $86,750)

Analyzes organizational performance and provides subject matter expertise. Also responsible for quality control evaluations and establishing corrective actions.

5. Controller ($85,000 – $113,750)

“Maximizes return on financial assets by establishing financial policies, procedures, controls, and reporting systems.” (Source: http://mymonster.ca/)

6. Executive Assistant ($42,750 – $54,000)

“Coordinates administrative procedures, public relations activities, and research and analysis functions for members of legislative assemblies, ministers, deputy ministers, corporate officials and executives, committees and boards of directors. They are employed by governments, corporations and associations.”

7. Lawyer ($96,500 – $183,250)

8. Senior Administrative Assistant ($38,000 – $48,250)

Manages administrative staff and establishes procedures related to preparing correspondence, reports, statements and other material, operating office equipment, answering telephones and other clerical duties.

(Source: http://www.workingincanada.gc.ca/)

9. Medical Data Entry Specialist ($28,500 – $35,000)

Performs a variety of secretatarial and administrative duties in doctor’s offices, hospitals, and other medical settings. Can include responsibilities such as medical coding, report tracking, printing and preparing invoices, and posting payment.

10. Law Clerk ($44,500 – $54,750)

Assists lawyers and judges by researching and preparing legal documents, and maintaining records.

11. Public Accountant ($65,500 – $84,250)

Plans, organizes and administers accounting systems for individuals and establishments. (Source: http://www.workingincanada.gc.ca/)

(Written by: Karen Bivand, Photo From: Marcol / FreeDigitalPhotos.net)

Making Today’s Job Numbers Work for You

Last week, it was announced that the unemployment rate is back to pre-recession levels.  In April, 58,300 new jobs were created.  This is great news, but how can you (the savvy job seeker) make this employment report work for you?

1.  Consider several part-time positions.  Most of the new jobs in April were part-time.  You may consider piecing together two part-time psotions rather than holding out for one full-time job.

2.  Look into the service sector.  The majority of the new positions were in the service sector (in particular- finance, insurance, and real estate).  Take a close look at these industries and see if they have any positions that would fit with your skills and experience.

3.  Look in Ontario.  Over the past few years, different provinces have been hotspots for jobs.  Now it’s Ontario’s turn.  Most of the new postions were located in Ontario.

4.  Take heart.  The tide is finally turning and opportunities are opening up.  If you have been reluctant to jump into the job market because of the recession, get ready.  The storm is over.  It’s time to get out there and grab that job.

When looking for a job, keep your eyes open.  By paying attention to the employment numbers, you can be sure that your job search strategy makes sense within the current labour market conditions.

(Written by: Karen Bivand, Source:  The Toronto Star, May 7, 2011,  Photo From:  worradmu / FreeDigitalPhotos.net)

How to Stay Employed During a Recession

The threat of a recession is in the news again.  It is enough to make even the most confident employee feel insecure.  During tough economic times, no job is completely safe.  However, there are actions that you can take right now that will help you either keep your job, or put yourself in a position where you can get another job with ease. 

Save your Organization Money:  When budgets are being cut, employers will remember those employees who saved or made them money.  This could be by introducing a new idea, increasing productivity, bringing in new customers, or retaining more existing ones.   Position yourself so that it makes good economic sense to keep you around.

Be in the Right Industry:  Do the labour market research to see where the jobs are and where they will likely be in the near future.  If possible, position yourself so that you can get a job that is in demand.  Make sure that your labour market research is current.  Don’t forget that every recession is different.  The industry that was hot during the last recession, could be cold in this one.

Bring your ‘A’ Game:  You should always bring your best effort to work, but it is particularly important during a recession.  Be professional, get results and go beyond the call of duty. This is not the time to coast.

Add Extra Value to Your Role:  Any role can be dynamic, and with a little extra effort and initiative, you can expand the role to reflect your skills.  If you find an opportunity to use your abilities to bring something extra to the position, you will move from being a cog in the machine, to being a real player in the organization.

Have the Right Attitude:  Employees are often let go because they have a bad attitude.  This includes talking pessimistically about the future of the organization, complaining about changes, and whining about daily responsibilities.  Complainers bring down the morale of the team.  Conversely, if you have positive attitude and show enthusiasm, the employer will be happy to keep you around.

Be Flexible:  During a recession, you may need to take a position that is outside of your realm of experience.  There may not be openings available for your current job.  If you are willing to try something new, it could help you to expand your profile and make you more marketable.

When job numbers are poor, we often feel that our destiny is outside of our control.  However, if you are smart and strategic, you can make sure that you are the one who stays employed (or at least finds a new job quickly).

(Written by: Karen Bivand, Photo From: digitalart / FreeDigitalPhotos.net)

How to Do Labour Market Research

You have an idea of the job that you are targeting, but do you even know if that job is in demand?  Sure, you’ve seen job advertisements, but is it possible that there are thousands of qualified applicants for every position that becomes available?  What is the outlook for your occupation?  Will there be jobs five years from now?  As a job seeker, it is important that you know the answers to these questions.  You don’t want to invest your time and resources into acquiring skills for a position that is in decline.  Here are some guidelines to help you get started with your labour market research:

Look at trends.  What is happening in the sector?  Are processes becoming more computerized?  Is there a focus on being ‘green’?  Are operations being outsourced internationally?  Is social media playing a role?  Find out what is going on in the sector and see how the changes may positively or negatively impact your ability to find a job.

Look at forecasts.  Most labour market websites will provide occupational outlooks for each specific job.  These outlooks estimate how many positions will be available in the occupation, and whether the occupation is expected to expand, decline, or stay the same.  The forecasts are based on conditions that exist within the industry, such as demographics and technology, as well as the environment as a whole, such as social, economic, and political conditions.

Look at the skills, qualifications, and education that is in demand.  Labour market research will be able to tell you what employers need.  Are they looking for candidates with a specific certification?  Would proficiency in a particular computer program make you a more attractive candidate?  This information will allow you to develop yourself so that you are perfect fit for the employers’ needs.

Look at the companies.  Which companies are expanding and which companies are declining? Which companies have opportunities available for applicants with your skill set?  By taking a closer look at specific companies, you can determine which ones to pursue, and which may be a waste of time.

Look at the average salaries.  Labour market research will also provide you with information about the average salary level for each particular occupation, within a specific region.  It is important that you know what salary level to expect from employers.  They may ask you for your salary expectations in an interview, and if they aren’t in line with the market rate, you risk appearing inexperienced or unreasonable.  Also, when the employer makes you an offer, you want to be able to identify whether or not the salary that they are offering is fair.

Now that you know what information you are looking for, where can you find it?  There are a variety of sources of labour market information:

Websites:  Websites allow you to conduct customized searches for particular occupations within specific regions.  They also offer a variety of other labour market information.  Spend some time browsing around each website.  Sometimes you can find the most useful information in the most unexpected places.  Here are some websites to get you started:

http://www.toronto.ca/telmi/index.html

LinkedIn groups:  Through the LinkedIn groups, you can ask specific questions of people who are currently working in the industry.  Most people are more than willing to demonstrate their expertise.  This allows you to get useful information and make networking connections at the same time.

Information interviews:  By conducting information interviews with people in your field, you can get inside information about the industry and about specific companies.  Information interviews also give you the opportunity to showcase your knowledge, skills, and professionalism.

Professional associations:  Professional associations are an excellent source of industry specific labour market information.  Take a look at any reports or surveys that they may have available.

Networking:  Sometimes you can get the most useful labour market information simply by asking people in your network.  You may spend days researching to learn something that you could have learned from your next door neighbour.  Talk to the people around you; you never know where you will find your next job lead.

Many job seekers jump blindly into their job search without doing any labour market research.  While these job seekers may still get lucky, if they don’t know which occupations are growing, which skills are in demand, and which companies are expanding, they are not in a good position to make strategic career choices.

(Written by: Karen Bivand, Photo From: Image: FreeDigitalPhotos.net)