News on the domestic employment front has been discouraging. The May jobs report showed only 69,000 jobs added during the month and unemployment up slightly to 8.2 percent. According to the National Bureau of Economic Research, the official referees in such matters, the recession ended in June 2009.
You might think that people leaving college are having a tough time, and for many, you’d be right. However, the answer isn’t as simple as no openings. Instead, employers say that there’s a shortage of qualified workers for the positions they have open. Almost half — 49 percent — of 1,300 companies surveyed by placement firm Manpower said that they were having difficulty filing jobs, even with job boards, social media, and Internet search engines. The problem is that the people companies want to hire don’t hear about the open positions. So, one result is fewer jobs going to those that need them and fewer qualified people working for employers who want them. The solution is an old one: word of mouth. In a time when electronic networking has become a way of life, old-fashioned staying in professional touch with people is grossly under-utilized, as Bloomberg Businessweek notes:
Says Wharton’s Cobb: “What all of the technological advancements have not done is to overcome the primary barrier to getting a job—which, from the employer’s standpoint, is being able to answer, ‘What type of worker will the applicant be?'”
Recommendations and assistance from people you know at companies are two ways to overcome the resume barrier. Another is to realize a second point from the study: you have to be a fit because there is a disconnection between what companies need and what might be available in a given area. All over the world, companies want skilled workers and one-third of them can’t find the people they need, as Bloomberg Businessweek separately reported:
A key issue was a lack of such hard skills as IT knowledge or facility with a foreign language. Insufficient work experience, a dearth of soft skills, or what the survey called “employability”—meaning characteristics like motivation and interpersonal skills, wanting more money, and being unwilling to work part-time—were also factors, in descending order of importance.
You need the right skills and then need to demonstrate them to employers. Having the right education like a business degree is critical. Gain the extra knowledge and insight that will let you meet the requirements of an employer. Consider an advanced business administration degree. Gain command of a foreign language. Look for advanced training in hot areas like geographic information systems, used in advanced business intelligence by many corporations, with a GIS degree. The more value you bring to the table, the more likely you’ll find someone at the other side of it.