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Solving the Talent Shortage: Advice for Job Seekers
In my previous blog I talked about the frustrations experienced by hiring managers and job seekers alike in a labor market characterized by tons of job openings and record numbers of talented people looking for positions. I discussed four steps that smart companies are taking to fill the talent gap. In this blog, I’d like to offer four ways to help job seekers connect with the right companies.
In my experience, job seekers with the highest potential for success (whether employed or not) take a strategic, proactive approach that includes:
- Following the advice of Reid Hoffman, founder of LinkedIn. He recommends seeking opportunities that align to your assets and aspirations, and leveraging your networks to find and fill marketplace needs. The key is to identify what you bring to the marketplace that others cannot.
- Relentlessly building a personal brand. Brand building includes social media but goes beyond it to include everything associated with your professional brand, such as your reputation with current and former colleagues and bosses; the form, content, and professionalism of your resume and cover letters; and how you position your assets and aspirations to be both compelling and concise.
- Taking a purposeful approach to career development. Careers don’t develop by accident. Lack of career growth often can be traced to the fact that the individual never took time to map out a plan for what they wanted to achieve. Will this plan change and evolve over time? Sure, but a plan that addresses long-term goals one day/week/month at a time will lead to continuous progress over the 50 years or so that a person is likely to be in the workforce.
- Connecting with people and organizations that can help bridge the gaps between job seeker and job. Think about it – while the average person might only have 20-30 close friends and maybe 500 “connections,” his or her network multiplied by a few degrees of separation is really a gateway to thousands of close friends and over 100,000,000 connections. In addition to the connections within your reach, there are a host of organizations that can help facilitate other networks to access the hidden job market and match job seekers to job opportunities.
It all boils down to this: Companies are experiencing a very real talent shortage and talented people want to get into the game. We’ve got demand and we’ve got supply. Connect the dots and some real solutions emerge.
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