The Way It Was/The Way It Is

by Michael Mayher

I write about methods people can use to help and fortify their job search and/or interview efforts, covering a wide range of suggestions ranging from the most basic to advanced techniques I use with effectiveness. I share the personality and character traits that most effectively convey confidence and will cause people to sit up and take notice of you. When I refer to attributes such as confidence, courage and self-assuredness, some think I am too demanding and ask too much of people. Not so, I am a student of human nature and my career places me in an ideal position for this. Everyone has it in them to rise above their circumstance to improve their lot in life. For those who strive for a better circumstance, there are no expendable people, and I hope my blog provides some usable material for those who want to take advantage of it. The day I cease my recruiting activities and stop closely interacting with employers and job seekers will be the day I can no longer claim to be an expert, because the day after I stop, my advice is no longer timely or current. In the meantime, trust me; I give advice that is utilized on a regular basis.

It is obvious to most everyone that the economy and trends that affect the ways we seek new jobs, and the environments related to the whole job search and interview thing, is markedly different today than it was prior to 2008, would you agree? In 2006 for example, with the exception of some sectors like manufacturing, which had already been drying up for more than a decade, for the most part jobs, good jobs, were more available and accessible to qualified applicants – especially if you had a good resume and kept your skills current. In fact, I look back now and joke, with tongue in cheek, that back then if you had a pulse and a good resume you could find a job.

Today’s environment is far different. Even mediocre jobs are being fought over. Companies, generally speaking, treat applicants deplorably and I have never seen such a lack of civility and common courtesy, much less customer service, which have sunk to levels I never would have thought possible. In 2015 job seekers have it tougher than I have ever witnessed since I began recruiting in last months of 1992. This is not to say there aren’t some good sectors in today’s market, but not for the widest demographic of job seekers, who simply want an opportunity to demonstrate their worth to a company that will likewise give them that chance, it is challenging. This is the swamp people seeking gainful employment must navigate.

So my first point is simple; if you are reading this and you haven’t searched for a job since pre-2008, you are in no position to judge what other people are going through. Count yourself as lucky but don’t be smug, it’s a pretty good bet that if trends continue, you may find yourself searching for a job and will thus experience first-hand, and you’ll be in for a surprise, when you get to experience the new normal.

My second and primary point is, if the jobs market has devolved and the landscape is different, then isn’t it logical that the manner by which you conduct yourself should adapt to the market changes and trends? In 2006, sending a resume online and then sitting back to enjoy your morning coffee may have worked then, but isn’t it a bit delusional to think the same strategy will work now?  

However, this is not to say good jobs are impossible to find and perhaps you find yourself doing something completely different from what you set out to do in your career. A lot has changed and, so too, should you change your outlook or re-evaluate what “success” means to you. One thing is certain, point-and-click by itself is not enough and you must strive to do more. 

More articles by Michael Mayher:
Demonstrating Interest is Not Begging
Confidence is a Key Ingredient
Stop Relying on the Internet

Career Survival Skills: The First Interview
The Interview
Resolve to Make This Year, Your Year
Periodic Update of Your Resume

About the Author: Michael Mayher has been an international direct search recruiter on two continents for over 22 years. A consultant, published author, lecturer and blogger, he re-introduces professionals to critical Soft Skills lost in our digital age and necessary to effectively navigate their careers. You can find more information by visiting his blog and website.

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