Five New Realities for Today’s Job Seeker

As the economy continues to tread along an uncertain path, today’s job seekers are faced with new realities.  Gone are the days of lavish sign on bonuses and companies fawning over qualified candidates.  On the positive side, however, the days of two years ago when even profitable companies halted hiring seem to have abated as well.

What can today’s job seeker expect?

1) You are either in a “hot” market or you are not.  If you are an online marketer, a softare developer, a healthcare industry technologist or some other related professional there is a good chance that your phone is ringing off of the hook.  Within a narrow scope of industries and disciplines, this is a boom time.  If you are not in those markets, however, you need to work especially hard if you are in need of a new job.

2) The job you are starting today may have a short life expectancy.  Gone are the days when companies hired people based on long term objectives and goals.  Most companies want to hire someone if they can help them grow their business and make money TODAY.  If your position doesn’t justify your salary in six months, you can’t expect many companies to carry the long view.  You should always keep your resume updated, and take a phone call from a head hunter even if you just started a job as you need to expect the unexpected.

3)  No one will cross train you.  Most companies believe that there is a limitless supply of talented people looking for work and they can settle on the exact skill set they desire.  Gone are the days when a company would look for the “best athlete available” and take the time to get you up to speed.  If you are a customer service representative, don’t look for a company to give you a shot in marketing.  Know your skills, and target jobs you can offer immediate value at.

4) You may have to move at your own expense.  If you are in a city that has been crushed by the economy, think Las Vegas, Orlando, etc.  the odds of finding a job that fits your skill set immediately are probably pretty low.  On the flip side, gone are the days when companies offered lavish relocation packages.  What remains are tough choices as you decide whether to take the job in Kansas City.  There is always a chance you can get some relocation assistance, but you might have to bite the bullet and go out of pocket to move for a job.

5) Don’t look for things to change any time soon.  The final reality is that we are headed into another presidential election cycle and many businesses are going to “wait things out” before going on a rapid hiring binge.  Regardless of political affiliation businesses want to know what to expect, and as long as the next four years remain up in the air, businesses will likely only hire what they need to maintain their businesses.  Keep this in mind if a job that you aren’t 100% fired up about falls into your lap.