10% Unemployment – Now What?

by Turner, Joe Monday, November 08, 2010
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Well, it finally arrived. On Friday the Labor Department reported that the official unemployment rate for October rose to 10.2%, from 9.8% in September. We knew this was coming and that it was just a matter of time. Hundreds of thousands of people are unemployed and job opportunities just arenft available.

OK, now that wefve broken that barrier, where do we go from here? What do we do now?

One of the bigger problems that Ifve noticed in my communications with job seekers is a sense of defeat or cynicism. As Ifve noted in my gOver 50 teleseminars, we are constantly bombarded by bad news and this is followed up with all the gcommentaryh that reinforces the hopelessness. In this age of political divisiveness, there is a huge dose of bashing and finger-pointing. Regardless of your political persuasions today, the plain fact is that there is no magic-bullet solution to todayfs problems. If only the feds would do this or the state would do that or somehow the Adam Smith notions of a magic gfree marketh were allowed to play out unfettered by the government, all this current mess would somehow dissipate into just a bad memory.

Well, that ainft gonna happen.

Herefs the plain truth: When youfre on the job search, youfre on your own. Donft expect the government, Obama, your senators, Rush, Glenn, your uncle or your mom to bail you out of this one. The ugly fact is that many of the over 15 million unemployed are not going to find a job again. ANY job.

Only twice since WWII has unemployment been over 10%. The one other time was late 1982 until June 1983. Bad as it was then, it was a different world than it is now. We donft have the same economic structures to fall back on today. For example, in the early 80fs we had a more robust manufacturing base, higher personal savings rates and lower personal debt than we do now.

True, today we do have the Internet, but how many of you are jumping up and down because there are thousands of job boards out there you can search? One problem is that the old (easy) ways of finding a job either no longer exist or they no longer work.

For example, I still see hundreds of job seekers attempting to sell their skills. Or promoting their 15 years of work experience. This economy doesnft care about your skills or work experience anymore.

Many companies are barely surviving and their senior managers are shaking in their boots about how to survive the next six to nine months in this economy. So get out of the gitfs all about meh frame of thinking mode. Itfs really hard when the rentfs due and youfve had no income over the past many months. But get out of the cubicle gjob dutiesh mentality and think gbigger pictureh. Look for ways to show that you are a problem solver. Answer this question: gHow can I help them solve their problem NOW?h This simple change in mentality serves a great purpose in your resume writing or during your job interview.

Make a list. Demonstrate specifics. Then boil it down to the best of the best. These are problems that youfve already solved. This what employers will buy today, but we canft just rely on point-and-click (the Internet) to sell. We need to take our message out there to the real world to get an audience. Networking is where it happens, but that could be as simple as talking to someone in line at Safeway. You have to be gonh all the time. So develop a great elevator pitch thatfs short and sweet. It should sound natural and reflect exactly how and why youfre a problem solver. Be ready to back it up with examples from above.

For example, if youfve worked as a Safety Coordinator, youfre elevator pitch might sound like this:

gCertified Safety Coordinator whose strengths in training and program implementation have helped reduce Workersf Compensation claims by 37% over a 4-year period for my current employer.h

True, not everyone is buying right now. But job opportunities ARE there. Youfll snag one only if youfre gonh and ready to offer someone solutions for the immediate future because of problems youfve solved in the past.