I was at home in my bed at the weekend nursing a twisted knee which was mind – numbingly painful. As I lay there moaning and groaning in pain. A random thought arose in my mind. That thought was that a person needs absolutely no experience to set up their own business but when they wanted to say apply for a business development position or other, they probably wouldn’t get the job because they had no specific experience. How odd I thought to myself. People who run their own businesses are just as capable as the people who do the regular 9 to 5 jobs of their counterparts. To run your own business, one needs to be pretty decisive and not shy away from doing the dirty work. In many respects you need to be a jack of all trades, and in many cases that is where the lessons one has learnt in life come in handy. You have a pretty big in-tray of work daily as you juggle marketing, sales management, administration, order processing etc. You don’t have specific targets as such but one big moving target all the time which is the product and/or service you are selling.
The global recession has resulted in many business failures because finance has dried up leaving a lot of entrepreneurs to pick up the pieces. So my question is shouldn’t these people be top of the interview pile when they to apply for vacant positions because they have so much to offer? Does one really need to have specific experience in a specific field to be good at the job, or is experience gained over a certain length of time in a general field more worthwhile? I believe that in a depressed economy, it may be more economical to employ someone who has a wide range of skills rather than one skill. I think time has come when it should be perfectly possible and indeed permissible to have one person performing two functions. People who have a wide ranging skills set are more likely to have the appetite and capacity for learning new skills and taking on additional responsibility.
Let’s face it; social media is spreading like wild fire across the populations of the world. In fact, Facebook recently claimed that is now has 1.11 billion members. Whichever way you choose to look at that figure, that’s a pretty substantial number of people.
This may then be the right time for jobseekers to view social media in a different light given its ability to reach out to a staggering number of people. For businesses too, maybe it is time to move away from print media for placing job advertisements. The mass appeal of social media is that it keeps users informed on-demand 24/7 – its real time. The ability of social media to keep people connected is the key here. For jobseekers this is such a powerful tool. Joe McKendrick, a regular contributor to the blog Smart Planet commented on one of his posts on 21st of July 2010 on the subject of social media and unemployment. Here are three ways social media can help jobseekers:
An innovative recruitment and employment tool: Thanks to social media, people have been able to market themselves better more than ever before through their own blogs, LinkedIn accounts, Facebook, Twitter. Businesses can get a more rounded view of the potential job seekers real life capabilities that are often over looked in traditional psychometric tests. Direct communication through social media outlets also has the potential to reduce a business’s recruitment advertising budget. This is a win win situation on both sides.
An entrepreneurial tool: Social media has presented people with opportunities to reach out to customers across the country and worldwide. A whole new ‘Do It Yourself Economy’ has emerged where people can set up businesses at the click of a button. One trend that has really taken off is that innovative businesses now have their own Facebook page to promote their business. We are now in an era in which entrepreneurs can connect instantly to the masses.
Outreach tool for distressed communities/regions: This can be a real kick start for communities and local economies that have declined in the recession and returning them to good health. With the aid of cheap, low cost internet access these communities can access the same information and take advantage of the same opportunities through social media platforms as individuals in thriving areas. This can be a precursor in helping to eliminate the divide that exists in societies around the world.
The power of social media to help job seekers still hasn’t been realised. However, this may be in part due to a lack of understanding of job seekers to make the most of it. There still seems to be a loyal group of job seekers out there who rely on traditional print media. Individuals must embrace social media and make it work to their advantage. The true value of social media for job seekers is to connect with people, to absorb and make sense of the information out there and to create and maximise the opportunities that arise.
Searching for a job isn’t fun, and if there is anybody out there who found it enjoyable, I would be most interested to hear from them. For most people, it is a stressful, time consuming and grueling experience. The global recession has only made it more difficult than ever before to look for a job with the average job search now taking 8 months, and even more depending on the type of industry.
The main challenge for all modern companies isn’t to find talent but to find the right quality of talent which is becoming harder to find. An ageing workforce and lesser quality fresh talent coming off the conveyor belt is making recruitment and retention a number 1 challenge for companies. We are now entering a whole new age of employee engagement and retention where companies need to be on the front foot in the identification, development and retention of quality talent.
This challenge is now forcing many companies to become more innovative with their recruiting methods. Some companies have totally embraced social media and incorporated it into their recruiting apparatus, whilst others remain more loyal to traditional forms of recruiting via advertising in newspapers, job boards etc. Increasingly, many companies employ the services of a headhunter to help them find and attract talent. As we progress in this information age, technology is going to play an even greater role. As individuals we are going to be better connected with each other, and that means we will be more visible to the outside world. So if your name exists anywhere in print or online, the chances are you are likely to get an email or a call from a headhunter.
So if they called you, why should you entertain their call? First, they have probably contacted you about a job that isn’t advertised anywhere publicly. Headhunters have access to the ‘hidden job market’ so if they called you it’s because they think you might be suitable for a new challenge. Second, even if you do not display a genuine interest in what they want to talk to you about, it’s probably worth keeping in touch with them as you never know what the future holds. A good headhunter will be a very well connected person who could put you in touch with potential future opportunities. So if you have a particular skill set and haven’t had a call from a headhunter, you should expect one in the not too distant future.