Are you ready to navigate the coming decade of 10% unemployment?
The jobless rate is at its highest level since 1983 at 10%, this is known as the U3 unemployment rate. An even more comprehensive measure of unemployment, known as the U6, which includes all marginally attached workers, puts the unemployment rate at 17.2%. That leaves about 1 in every 5 Americans without a job.
The politicians will tell you there will be a healthier job market when the economy rebounds and that unemployment will trend down to more normalized levels. The reality is that nobody, including politicians and economists really knows what the job market will look like in the years ahead.
It is a fool’s game to try and predict what the job market will look like in the next 10 years — there are too many moving factors and variables in our global economy. Those that will have you believe that “full employment”, widely accepted to be at 5% unemployment, is achievable within the next four years may be overly optimistic.
The sobering reality, is that we may be heading towards a lost decade for jobs.
The jobless rate usually sees a sizeable drop during the economic recovery – and bigger recessionary spikes in unemployment are typically followed by larger declines during the first year of improving unemployment. So it would be no surprise if, a year after the unemployment rate begins to drop, it falls to the nine percent range.
The real problem is that the rate of decline in joblessness slows during the rest of the economic expansion. The annual postwar pace of decline in unemployment during these periods has been reasonably uniform, the median being 0.5% a year.
If that pattern persists, the U.S. economy needs to keep expanding without interruption until 2020 for unemployment to fall to its pre-recession low. Even to get back to 5%, often considered to be “full employment,” it would take a business cycle upswing lasting about as long as the record-setting 1991-2001 expansion. Should the next recession arrive earlier, as we suspect, it will take much longer. The implications constitute nothing short of a wake-up call for policy makers who promise to get job growth back on track.
The data and rational thought is pointing to a very tough road ahead for jobs.
I find it sad that so many good people are without jobs and are struggling to make ends meet. I have heard many stories about the hardships that many people and families are going through. I truly hope that the unemployment situation becomes better and those that are struggling find their way.
But, hope is not enough — you need to do more then ever before in this job market to find a job or keep your job. This is the reality of our new world good bad or indifferent.
Action items to take on
Here are 9 action items that you can take to defend yourself from the lost jobs decade and go on the attack with your personal brand:
1.) Create your personal website (www.yourname.com)
Having your own website is a great way to feature and differentiate yourself from other job candidates. Your experience and credentials are the meat of your site and should highlight why you are the best candidate in your field or niche. Your website should be your personal virtual billboard that screams “you need to hire me!”
2.) Join Linkedin, Facebook and Twitter and get involved
Linkedin should be the first social network you should be on to help create your social network safety net. The more quality connections you have the better off you will be. It is essential to network in this job market and Linkedin is one of the fastest and most efficient platforms to help you network. Also, establish your profiles on Facebook and Twitter — they are great ways to network, build relationships and be exposed to opportunities.
Here is a post I wrote on how to use Linkedin to get the job you want.
3.) Create a blog about a passion
Blogs are a great way to demonstrate thought leadership in your niche, field, or profession. Through documenting your ideas for others to read you will gain mindshare and credibility — this is of course if your creating valuable content. Think of ways to fix common business problems at work, do something better, be more innovative, shorten a process, or shed new light on something. People will notice.
4.) Be an avid reader and subscribe to blogs in your niche
Through reading the latest and most up to date information you will create a wealth of knowledge over time. Through constantly seeking out knowledge from thought leaders in your niche you can become one yourself. Ideas come from ideas so start reading and subscribing to the great blogs on the web.
5.) Regularly comment on industry leading blogs or any blog you are interested in
When you consistently comment on a blog you will begin to form a relationship with the blog’s author. This is a great way to build your social network and create some opportunities for yourself. If there is a job at a company you would like to work at try commenting regularly on their blog — someone will notice.
6.) Execute on the job — be a leader
If you are fortunate enough to be employed and would like to advance at the company you need to differentiate yourself. Make sure you are excelling at everything you do and pay attention to the details. Take courses that will help you learn the skills you need to succeed on the job and keep learning. Managers notice the top performers on their team — be a top performer or learn how.
7.) Promote your personal brand
Through promoting your personal brand properly you will accelerate your career path and create more opportunities for yourself. Use all the social networking tools at your disposal to spread your personal brand and give your brand some legs. Add links to your website and blog in your email signature. You will be amazed at how quickly your personal brand will be noticed by those in positions of power and your colleagues at work.
8.) Monitor your personal brand
Setup Google Alerts for your name and terms you are interested in. This is the easiest way to monitor the conversations that are happening about you on the web. If something is said about you on the web (good and bad) you want to be able to respond to either elaborate the discussion or defend your personal brand.
Another great tip is to set up Google Alerts for topics you are interested in — this is a great way to stay up to date and learn a ton. Read enough and you will be very knowledgeable sooner then you think. Knowledge is power.
9.) Have a written plan with steps to reach your goals
Human beings have the highest emotional capacity of any species on earth, however so many people seem to live an uninspired life and feel stuck where they are. This is truly unfortunate. Well, the good news is that no matter where you find yourself in life, all it takes is one choice to move you in a new direction. A series of purposeful choices can start creating leverage in your life and bring you to places you once thought impossible.
From the beginning of time, every human accomplishment started as an idea in somebody’s mind. This idea then became real as choices were made with the realization of the idea as the end goal. When we’re growing and working towards the attainment of any worthwhile, self-defined goal it brings forth a sense of happiness and accomplishment few other things can. Remember, it all starts with an idea and the first decision that moves you towards its realization. Stop waiting for things to happen and start deciding!
Write down your goals and take action.
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What would you add to these 9 action items? Did I miss anything? If you have any other tips or action items please share your comments. Let’s talk about it some more.
Chad Levitt is the author of the New Sales Economy blog, which focuses on how Sales 2.0 & Social Media can help you connect, create more opportunities and increase your business. Chad is also the featured Sales 2.0 blogger at SalesGravy.com, the number one web portal for sales pros, the professional athletes of the business world. Make sure to connect with him on Twitter @chadalevitt.