If you’ve been hiding under a rock for the last couple of months, the news of the Tesco horsemeat scandal may have passed you by. If not, then you’re aware that a large number of FMCG retailers have been suffering supply chain issues where horsemeat has been found in beef products. Although this is a complex issue, a simple explanation is that FMCG retailers, in an effort to protect and enhance their profit margins (which are typically low), have been squeezing prices paid to their suppliers, which pressured their suppliers to cut their own costs. As a result, they sourced their meat from cheaper suppliers in the supply network, and somewhere along the line a load of cheap horsemeat got sold as beef. [Read more...]
We all know that the British economy is going through something of a troubled time right now. Unemployment is on the rise, growth prospects are shaky and youth unemployment is a particular concern, with more than 1 million youngsters currently classed as ‘NEET’ (not in education, employment or training).
This is a cause for concern, particularly as a recent survey from the Chartered Institute of Personnel Development (CIPD) found that 31% of private sector firms plan to make cuts to jobs during the current quarter. This is likely to result in the unemployment queues swelling further and, when you add in the public sector redundancies that are currently taking place too, it all adds up to a difficult picture.
But how does this affect job seekers? In many ways, it is easy to see how they are affected by redundancies due to business cut backs and slow industry growth. There are more people chasing after the jobs that are out there, meaning that competition can be fierce, particularly for the very best jobs or in very competitive industries. Another worry is the north-south divide: the CIPD study found that job prospects in the south are much better than they are in the north.
We also have to take into account issues such as London School of Economics suggests that the fees increase could result in 7.5% fewer men going to university and 5% fewer women.
This all has an impact on the jobs market, adding to the number of young people looking for jobs. When you consider that there are also more graduates than ever before chasing after jobs, it puts even more pressure on the system. There are other options for them to consider, such as apprenticeships, but we have yet to see whether the challenge will be met.
There are also recruitment challenges involved in all of this: some recruiters are finding it harder to get work themselves as businesses look to cut costs and take recruitment processes back in house. Others are overwhelmed with candidates for vacancies, which in some ways can be seen as a positive thing as it provides more choice, but it can also make it harder to place increasing numbers of unemployed people in jobs.
Overall, even though there are still some excellent employment and training opportunities out there, it seems as though the challenging conditions for job seekers and recruiters alike are set to continue for some time yet.
If you are looking for a job in the current economy, you are certainly not in an enviable situation. You have probably found that there are fewer jobs and more applicants out there. You might have found that the wheels of recruitment are sluggish at best and ground to a halt at worst. Desperate times call for desperate measures and in this article I will give you three ways in which to go about your job search in a slightly different manner than usual.
1. Networking at All Times
Networking has always been valuable, when looking for a job in a recession it’s a prerequisite. Your professional network is made up of the people you have worked with in your career such as past coworkers, managers, clients, suppliers, counterparts and even competitors.
You need to make calls and fire off emails to your network, tell everyone what your situation is and what type of work you are looking for. You will experience a great deal of help and assistance from people, especially as they know their number could be up next.
There will be opportunities for you to chat with people at trade shows or sponsored events, make the most of these and make sure you have your 30 second elevator pitch well rehearsed. You need to leave a lasting impression; you need to leave the person you speak to wanting more.
You also have to think beyond your professional network and grab any chance you get to sell yourself. Regard any interaction with people as an opportunity for you to network. Any interaction means striking up a conversation with people at your nephew’s birthday party or even in the line at the post office, you never know who they in turn might have in their network. By becoming something of a corporate village idiot you will extend your network, have more shots at getting a job and probably have a bit of fun as well.
2. Demonstrate Value – WIIFM
Networking is about spreading the word, this section is about what word you spread. At the moment there aren’t many vacancies out there, so what you need to do is to convince a company that they can make an exception for you.
Imagine you were the sales manager of a software business, sales figures are down and the competition is breathing down your neck. Along comes a random job seeker and clearly tells you exactly how much of your software he could sell, how much he would expect to get paid and what this would do for your bottom line. Do you think the sales manager will say there are no jobs going at the moment, or do you think he or she will be doing their damndest to get a hiring approval from their boss?
When you tune in to the company’s WIIFM, make it abundantly clear what you will do for them, how long it will take and how much money you will bring in (or costs you will cut). Think about how you can add value. Anyone in their right mind would listen to your proposition and some might actually bring about a hiring ticket and give you a chance. If the company is not interested in hearing you out, nevermind and move on. They are probably not worth the time anyway as they can’t spot an opportunity to create value even when it’s served on a plate.
3. Sleuthing and the Direct Approach
Before you can demonstrate your value, you have to find out whom to approach.
Applying for jobs online was never going to make you stand out, no matter what economy we are in. At the moment, HR managers are receiving hundreds of applications for one job posting, even if it’s only on the company website.
The clever job seeker will find a way to infiltrate the Politburo that is HR and find out who the hiring manager behind the vacancy is. They will do their research and somehow contact this manager direct with the view to attract attention and get on the shortlist.
The best recruiters out there know exactly how to do this, they will ask anyone from receptionists to IT support for help in homing in on the hiring manager’s name. You can do this as well, or to make it easier you can try online resources like LinkedIn or sometimes even the company’s own website. Once you have identified who the manager is, all you need to do now is make contact. Most people will send a courteous email to the manager outlining that they are interested in the opportunity, with their CV attached.
The brazen job seeker will ring up reception, get the manager on the phone and deliver their pitch. This could either impress or annoy the manager, probably depending on the line of work you are looking for. A salesperson doing this would get an immediate consideration, a data entry clerk maybe not.
Call to Action
By networking with everyone including strangers, demonstrating your value and WIIFM and calling up managers direct you will be noticed. Remember that companies like resourceful job seekers, as they make good resourceful employees. If you choose to go down this route, at least you know you have gone above and beyond the call of duty as a job seeker. Instead of a ribbon, you might just end up with a job.