Eight years after the 2008 financial crisis, the global economy is steadily recovering, but unemployment rates remain worryingly high. While structural changes have seriously affected the job market and as such employment trends, this isn’t the only reason you don’t have a job at the moment. Just like in any situation you also shoulder some of the responsibility.
You may wonder how it is your fault that the economy is failing. Well, it is not. What you are responsible for, however, is how you react to the problem or the change. For example, all that you hear is that the job market has become extremely competitive and that there is nothing that can make your entry to employment any easier. But you are sick and tired of hearing the same cliché phrases such as ‘there are no jobs’ over and over again and all of that useless advice coming from people who lack hope, self-esteem and ambition.
So what can you do about it?
Your responsibility as a jobseeker can be better understood through social science. The dichotomy of ‘structure’ and ‘agency’ can help you determine your role in this situation that people often describe as ‘difficult’ and ‘challenging.’ In Cultural Studies: Theory and Practice, (2005) Chris Barker defines structure as “the recurrent patterned arrangements which influence or limit the choices and opportunities”. Now, from the sociological point of view, ‘agency’ is the individual’s ability to make choices that are guided by their own desires and ‘free will’ not by what society dictates.
In a way, structure explains how the recession has changed the norms of the economy and that has had a huge impact on the individual, but this is not the only way to evaluate the situation. While the change has resulted in limiting job opportunities, these restrictions should help you adjust your own decision-making and career planning. So you can’t let structure make decisions that define your life. You just have to find alternative methods to make it happen.
If anything this should be applied to your job search. There are many jobs in the market, and you have to be flexible and marketable enough to make the most of the opportunities you are given. You need to get out there and make yourself more available when you reach out to potential employers.
Job Hunting: Why is it So Hard?
Searching for a job is frustrating, especially if we take into consideration the consequences of the last economic crisis and of course the competition. But the way I see it, the only barrier that is standing in your way is your attitude to the ‘problem’, your thoughts and your beliefs.
When you think about how difficult it is to find a job, you convince yourself that doing so is actually really hard and as such you are giving up all hope as if you are ready to accept defeat. This is a common mistake many jobseekers make. While they think skills are important, they often overlook their own attitude to job-hunting. As such they do not realise that ‘getting in the right jobseeker mindset’ is essential to landing a job. I discuss this further in the eBook 6 Steps to Landing Your Dream Job explaining how critical it is for the modern jobseeker to retain a positive attitude to job-hunting.
Since Rome was not built in a day, this means that you too need to be a highly proactive and persistent jobseeker. Just as career experts suggest, a really short job search can take up to three months considering that employers need to post the job, schedule interviews, make the offer and then the hire. However, the average job hunt lasts about seven to ten months and in some cases it may even take up to one or two years for you to find the job you want.
Finding a job is only difficult because as a jobseeker you are focusing on the wrong things. Instead of worrying over the fact there are no job opportunities, revise your obsolete job search strategies and make the first move to reach out to employers. Come up with creative ways to job hunt such as hitting the hidden job market, or utilizing digital or social networking, checking up on resume writing trends or even attending career events and fairs.
If you still think job-hunting is difficult, it might be helpful to think about those elements that might be preventing you to do so but are not so obvious to begin with. As career pivot’s Marc Miller suggests, there are many factors that determine how long your job search will last such as:
- Your years of experience
- Your network
- The geographic demands of skills
- The time of year
While there is no definite time when jobseekers need to start looking for a job, there are certain times of the year that are more ideal in regards to landing one as recruiters seem to be more actively looking for new talent. That is between late November and middle of January when the majority of job openings occur, so make sure you have come up with a job strategy by then.
Obviously you should not wait until November to initiate your job search as you know what they say; “practice makes perfect”. The more interviews you attend, the more you learn about the employers’ needs and improve your self-image. It only makes sense that a candidate who has completed fifty interviews will be more experienced than someone who has just been to one interview.
See Also: 4 Steps to Creating Your Job Search Plan
The problem with most jobseekers today is that they don’t job hunt often – or long enough, so that they can become experts at job-hunting, which is a job in itself. And perhaps they don’t know enough about job-hunting which only makes them believe that searching for a job is impossible, without realising how hard they are making it for themselves.
Finding a job is as difficult as you make it. So, I am not going to simply answer how hard it is to find a job, rather ask you how hard do you think it is to do it?
Can you give me a number from 1 to 10 to rate the level of difficulty of job searching? Simply write your number down in the comments section below.