Posted August 17, 2012 by

Evolving labor market calls for evolving tactics

Livingstone Mukasa

Livingstone Mukasa, Founder and CEO of Archability

Many of us can recall, rather recently, times when the majority of soon-to-be college graduates had secured two, maybe three job offers prior to donning the ceremonial gown and walking down the aisles to get their degrees.  In those days, recruiters were just about everywhere, many taking on new employees in droves and even throwing in signing bonuses and paid relocation expenses.  All that mattered was a college degree.  The rest simply fell into place on its own.

Seemingly overnight, this equation that had existed for generations was turned upside down.  Unbeknownst to many, market forces were at work chipping away at what had been the standard formula for job security.  The days of graduates finding jobs with minimal effort were coming to end as the very definition of job seeking and recruitment was undergoing a transformation that would set a new precedent in the sourcing and securing of employment.

Gone are the days of the standard resume and written cover letter. Portfolios are no longer something you can hold in your hand. Job searching is used in the same sentence as crowd sourcing and mobile apps.  So how can new graduates adjust to a new market and suitably arm themselves?

We now live in a world where technology is the driving force of not only how work is conducted, but also how workers are sourced.  This results in a flattening effect as it lowers, and in some cases, eliminates previous geographical boundaries and opens up the marketplace to global talent.  The increased competition is a boon for employers, giving them access to a wider pool from which to select their best fit. Perhaps the most perfect example of this is the recent surge in crowd sourcing. For college graduates, the effective use of crowd sourcing in a very difficult job market is becoming a mainstay – for employers it already is. For those unfamiliar with the term, crowd sourcing is essentially taking a task, or in this case a job, and outsourcing the work to a massive, talented, undefined general public. The benefits for employers are obvious; hundreds if not thousands of potential candidates vie for the open position by showcasing their portfolios, resumes and work on an online platform. Graduates best equipped to find a new job will be utilizing this technology.

Additionally, the mobility of the marketplace has created the need for a mobile, remote, and flexible workforce that is permanently connected and constantly engaged.  Online presence is the new “credit score” for job applicants.  This presence in many cases is becoming far more important than anything on a piece of a paper in determining whether or not a potential employer will reach out to a candidate. Online tools such as LinkedIn are now invaluable for listing credentials, reaching out and networking with potential employers and industry peers, and opining on discussion boards.  This activity is indexed in search engines and depending on its quality, can positively influence a prospective employer.  With minimal effort, participation in these discussion boards can position a job seeker as a person of relevance, and also connect you to influencers in your target field.  Social media increasingly plays a big role, not only in accessing information, but precipitously acting on it too.  Remember, the competition is now global, and first responders rule.

Along those same lines, mobile phone applications are quickly becoming a tool that graduates need to take advantage of. Unlike yesterday’s job market, technology allows human resource departments to fill, change or post an open position in an instant. The whole process is much less stagnant than it used to be, and certainly much more condensed – according to CNN Money, the average job posting remains open, or unfilled, for no more than 45 days. Compare this to just ten years ago, when certain positions could remain unfilled for more than six months. The point? When the opportunity arises, it’s important to use the technology at your disposal to capitalize. The window is much smaller than it used to be.

For those in creative fields, an easily accessible online portfolio is mandatory.  Select your best work and display it in a manner that conveys your creativity, understanding of the subject matter, and personality.  Once again, mobility is important.  This portfolio should be able to be instantly shared via social media, and have links to your other online profiles that are professionally relevant.

As work becomes more flexible, so should job applicants.  There’s a growth in the use of online job marketplaces where people can secure smaller, short term projects that they can then use to convince employers that they’ve got the skills to perform on longer, more permanent work.

For your skills to remain relevant in this evolving labor marketplace, job seekers need to stay updated with the technologies that are driving these changes.  Economy driven structural changes are forcing companies to be leaner, and a growing number of businesses are becoming at least partly virtual.  Don’t fall behind.

Livingstone Mukasa, Founder and CEO of Archability

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