Resources for Struggling Job Seekers

Job market and job seeker trends.

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Hiring for Hope (hiringforhope.org) is a grassroots movement and a national 501(c)3 organization focused on reshaping the way people and organizations think, talk, act, and interact with each other about career and family issues.

Hiring for Hope is the home of the Job Angels movement founded by Mark Stelzner of Inflexion Advisors (inflexionadvisors.com). Job Angels’ premise was that each member would commit to a single goal: helping just one person find gainful employment. This simple and effective career management program has already helped nearly 2,500 people find gainful employment.

[See the 50 Best Careers of 2011.]

With the help of about 130 volunteers, Hiring for Hope focuses on empowering more than 55,000 members with the ability to build and maintain economically-viable and sustainable lives and families.

Tegan Acree, Founder and President of Hiring for Hope, has nearly 15 years of experience as a senior human resources, training, and staffing industry executive managing multiple locations and resources nationally. Overseeing an organization serving over 55,000 job seekers, she is uniquely positioned to comment on job market and job seeker trends.

Here are some of her recent observations:

Job Market Trends

• It's no longer life as usual if you are trying to manage your career and look for a job. General uncertainty, poor consumer confidence, a declining stock market, high national debt, poor job creation, and a sluggish economy are all contributing to an environment where fear and uncertainty among job seekers and employers is high. Consequently, job creation is scarce and competition for jobs amongst a very talented pool of workers is fierce.

• Due to major advances in technology and an explosion in the use of social media, employers have changed the way they recruit and hire. Today, job search and applying is almost exclusively online. For many job seekers, training has not kept up with these market changes.

• The cost associated with getting advice and assistance from a qualified career professional to bridge a knowledge gap can be more expensive than the average job seeker can afford. In addition, it can be very challenging to assess whether those professionals providing career management advice and guidance are credible and trustworthy.

[See 6 Ways the World of Work is Changing.]

• We see many corporations experiencing favorable revenue. However, many are still hesitant to hire due to the current political and economic uncertainty. Some seem to be taking advantage of their employees and our current conditions simply because they can, while others are looking for affordable ways to help make a positive difference.

• Long gone are the days of working for one employer an entire career. Employers have learned how to do more with less, are shipping work overseas, and have rediscovered the financial benefits and flexibility gained by hiring a contingent workforce. It is unlikely that hiring habits will ever return to what they once were.

• From daily observations by our Career Angels on the front lines, some employers are taking advantage of the current job market conditions by treating their employees in a manner they would not have dreamed of before. This is simply because there are not as many career options currently available. As a result, both employer and employee loyalty have gone out the window, and are to a great degree, a thing of the past. Subsequently, career management has now become a lifelong process.

[See How to Find a Job in a 'Jobless Economy.']

General Trends

• Many industries such as real estate, construction, furniture and other closely related industries have been completely decimated. The average job seeker in these, and other hard-hit industries are now struggling with figuring out how to retool, retrain and reinvent themselves, and/or find a way to sell a potential employer on how their skills are transferable.

• Industries such as healthcare (http://healthcareers.about.com/) and technology are doing well and even experiencing steady growth.

• The small business sector is experiencing the first signs of a recovery right now.

• Many "mature workers" find themselves out of work for the first time in their careers. A large number of them are lost, scared, and technically challenged. They also face the possibility of age discrimination.

• Our current competitive job market is a challenging place for new graduates to compete. Consequently, there are an alarming number of "boomerang kids" living with their parents, which is causing additional unexpected and unplanned financial and emotional stress on families.

[See 4 Networks Job Seekers Should Know About.]

Predictions

• Much of today’s employed workforce is miserable and will become flight risks when the job market improves. Yet for now, many employees find themselves stuck in a career they may have little opportunity to improve or change in the short term.

• When the job market improves, employee turnover and retention will become costly workforce issues for employers who do not develop and implement a proactive retention strategy.

•The savvy job seeker should continually network and build their skills so they are prepared for anything that lies ahead.

Help for Job Seekers

If you are affected by these obstacles, Hiring for Hope has a variety of resources for you. They will match job seekers with free, one-on-one career management coaching, provide an online Learning Center, and have partnerships with nearly 100 career professionals across the country. Find them by searching “Hiring for Hope” on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter @JobAngels to connect with their extensive social media communities.

If you’re a job seeker or would like to offer to help the community or to find out about the group’s in-person events, be sure to investigate their programs at hiringforhope.org.

And if you’re in a position to coach or hire a member of the Hiring for Hope community, learn how at the Hiring for Hope website.

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