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Career Survival Skills: 80 or 20 Doesn’t Matter
by Michael Mayher

Anyone who’s had to look for a job using the generally accepted and primary means of finding a job, that being predominantly online activity, knows it is a frustrating exercise. I know, as an expert in my field, there are tons of jobs not even posted that you won’t become aware of by limiting yourself to the digital online methods alone. I know that this method can be a demoralizing and dehumanizing exercise. Many others also know it, but subconsciously they fail to do anything about it and simply prefer to complain and resist the very things that can help – but may require more and real effort.

Conversely, there are some who’ve never had much of a problem because they work within a healthy market sector; their online activities have been easier. If you belong to this fortunate group then good for you, but don’t be smug, change is inevitable and we all pay our dues in life; we pay now or later, but everyone will go through a rough patch personally and/or professionally. I am rather philosophical about it and consider it a rite of passage, and a life without a measure of difficulty is a life unlived to its fullest.

I’ve heard figures quoted in surveys suggesting 80% of the available jobs are never posted online. Often these numbers are trumpeted by those who are consultants and career coaches. Conversely, others suggest this is nonsense and only a small percentage of select jobs, the real plum jobs, aren’t posted and they suggest the number is more likely about 20%. However, this perspective comes from the people singing the praises of soulless online services. They claim no company that wants to hire would hide their open positions. Though I can quickly counter that by reminding that posting jobs does have a cost to companies in both time and money and, as a result, companies do not post every available job they have and/or they prioritize that which is chosen to post.

I base my judgment according to what I see and hear from both companies and job seekers. Clearly and factually, companies do not post every job and indeed they rank and prioritize what needs to be filled at any particular time. When I speak with job seekers, especially those who have been dedicated, looking and reacting on a regular basis, they know most of the jobs posted are the same ones they observe over and over again. From their perspective there is not much out there and when the same jobs come up every few months it means they are crappy jobs with high turnover. In fairness, it isn’t all bad and indeed there are good jobs posted online but they are fewer, with more people competing for them than ever – like a bucket full of minnows fightin’ over bread crumbs.

So if it isn’t 80%, nor it is 20% and I frankly think it is something in-between, does it really matter? Without a doubt there are many jobs you’ll not find nor be able to access by ritually peering into the new idiot-box display, which has supplanted the old idiot box -- television. Aimlessly reading job posts and doing nothing more to help yourself than sending a resume here and there and waiting to be summoned is a non-activity, and a mere gesture of intention, rather than a real effort. LinkedIn is a good tool to exploit, although it is becoming increasingly like Facebook – which is not meant as a compliment. For those without a professional network of people with whom to interact, it is one way to build but, again recognize, it is not Facebook and should not utilized as such. Building a professional network takes time and if you want or need a job now, it is not a quick-fix answer but rather something you cultivate over time.

But here’s the hard truth: for a different or better result you must do that which is uncomfortable. I wouldn’t call the lack of will to step outside of your comfort zone laziness, but rather symptomatic of ignorance - and before people get all whiny and blame-throw accusations about micro-aggression as they run for their safe-space, I am using the word ignorance according to its true meaning, that of not having enough knowledge, understanding or information about something.

It is understandable that, as the result of over-reliance upon online tools for a full generation, people lack the most basic skills with which to help themselves. Far too many people expect someone else, a device or an app to magically access and get them a job. When you hit rock bottom and get angry and frustrated enough, there is advice out there and my blog is FULL of helpful information for those who awaken to the reality that what they’re currently doing, isn’t enough.


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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