The unemployment rate is approaching record lows and Baby Boomers are beginning to retire, so that means that competition for the best jobs will ease.  Right?  No, not at the executive level. There, the competition is still intense especially in industries with contracting or changing business models like healthcare, communications, media and publishing.  In those industries, with 20, 30, 40 or more applicants for the good jobs, the intensity has actually increased

It will take more than the minimum effort to advance your leadership career.   

The old saying that finding a new job is a full-time job is spot-on, especially when you consider industry consolidation and a steady stream of newly minted MBAs and those other graduate degrees flooding the market.  In healthcare, for example, industry consolidation means fewer jobs.  However,  over the last 10 years there has been an increase in hospital management degree programs both in traditional settings as well as on-line programs, and many Baby Boomers have decided to hang around for four or five more years to pad their retirement plans.  

Some candidates, based on their performance in the job search process, are clearly not ready to deal with this reality. They seem determined to hold on to the way they have always looked for work.  The problem with that rationale is that the job search rules have changed and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. Job applicants who choose to ignore these realities do so at their own peril.

My advice to those candidates who have not embraced this new normal job market is to stop pushing back, quit trying to convince yourself that embracing the new platforms and strategies is not necessary for you and that nothing has changed.  

Here are some key areas where change has occurred:

  1. Customize your resume for each job.   Sending the same resume to every job opportunity makes you like everyone else. In a time when brand differentiation is just as important in career management as it is with consumer goods, digging in your heals is a good way to be eliminated from a search during the resume review.  If you send in your resume and never hear from the employer or their recruiter, this may be one reason why.
  2. Enhance your social media image.  Not only do you need to create a strengths and values-based profile, you must also join industry groups where you can connect with your peers and post information that has value for the group.  Every time you post, your picture shows up in the news feed.  This is where recruiters spend time looking for talent. LinkedIn is the primary platform, but there are others.  I have a personal and a business Face Book page.  
  3. Build a robust professional network.  This is an essential tool for effectively managing your career.  It is time-consuming but it is this network that can help you get to the table for consideration for jobs that are not posted on-line. Building a robust network means you must take the time to engage your network. And remember, it is a two-way street,  to receive you must also give.  
  4. Become a better storyteller.  You must sell your value to the prospective employer.  if you think you are too important, or too good to sell yourself, then you will probably experience a great deal of rejection and frustration. Do not expect employers to look at your resume and “get it.”  You need to sell your value — your strengths and your accomplishments.  To do this you must be prepared to answer two kinds of questions:  those that require a fact-based response and those that beg for a story, an illustration that will make you memorable to the interviewer.

I welcome your thoughts and examples of your experiences. If  you have questions, you can reach me at AsktheRecruiter@JohnGSelf.Com.