As some of you know, I've spent the majority of 2013 looking for a new career. One where I can make a meaningful contribution to a worthwhile organization.
I thought I had found, or actually re-found, a good career with a former employer in the Consulting field. I knew the business and many of my peers, having been employed by this company six years prior. I even had a six-week project waiting for me when I signed on...Nirvana.
Unfortunately, an acquisition made before I started wasn't providing the revenue required to make plan, so all of us not currently staffed on a project were let go in an across the board layoff. I had been with the company for four months total. Thus, the realities of business today.
Before you assume this is a rant on the unfair practices and employers’ lack of commitment to employees, read on. On the contrary, I believe this is a wonderful time to explore employment opportunities and to work for great companies.
- It's the economy, stupid. All signs are the economy is improving and getting stronger. The DOW recently closed above 16,000. I hear from all my friends in business that revenue opportunities are improving. I'm seeing building cranes dot the skyline of the DFW area. We all know that coming out of a recession, businesses are hesitant to rekindle hiring, but they need good people to remain competitive. Hiring will surely follow this economy and I'm excited to be on the forefront of that wave.
- Linkedin and other employment and networking sites are flourishing. If you haven't looked for a job in a while, it's a whole new world for job seekers. It is easier to make a statement and post your information to employers than ever before. Personal web sites, social network profiles, and job boards make your information and aspirations available to anyone with a browser and a good search engine. Still, more jobs are found through networking than any other method. Again, this is where sites like Linkedin shine. Reach out to those business and personal contacts, and provide them a good reason to check out your profile. Invest a little in the Job Seeker package and get increased exposure to potential employers. No one hires talent without first checking them out on Linkedin.
- The employer and labor market paradigm is changing. The average annual turnover in 2011 was 13% according to SHRM Human Capital Benchmarking Database (2010-2011, 2011-2012 & 2012-2013). In addition, employers are reaching more for “Just in Time Skillsets” through consulting and contracting engagements. For example, companies today hire full-time employees to maintain their existing business processes and meet their customer’s needs. Few employers hire, and pay for, spare employee capacity for the occasional project. So where does the specialty knowledge and resources come from to select and install that new CRM system? It comes from consulting and contract help. I believe that soon, we will all be working independently for ourselves and selling our knowledge and expertise to companies to perform specific, measureable, and discrete tasks. This paradigm shift will force us all to get better at marketing ourselves.
After my short-term employment, I found an opportunity to work on a contract basis for one of the world’s best consumer-focused companies. This engagement pays well and provides me an opportunity to see the interworkings of a great organization while allowing me to stretch my skills. I'm still looking for full-time employment, but in the interim, it’s a win/win for everyone.