Workplace Rights

Weekly (8/27/12)

Topic of the Week  Surviving Job Insecurity

Surviving Job Insecurity, Executive Summary
  • The direct approach.
  • An agency or recruiter.
  • Job boards.
  • Networking.

Surviving Job Insecurity: Maintaining a 24/7 Job Hunt

According to economists the recession is mostly in our rear view mirror so there should be more job security, correct? Welcome to the new normal, unfortunately, where job insecurity is the norm. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics has been following 10,000 U.S. residents since 1979. They provide a fascinating snapshot of our economy, and these days, it's not a pretty picture. For workers between 40 and 46, 33% hold jobs for only one year, while 69% of this group held a job for up to five years. We don't have permanent jobs anymore, it's a revolving door. Which reminds me of postal worker Jacquelyn Myers. She was put on "light duty" work because of a back injury. However during that same time she was collecting disability benefits she entered more than 80 long distance races, including the Boston Marathon.
Ironically many of us wish we could be Ms. Myers and have our jobs last as long as a marathon instead of being stuck in light duty, a.k.a. mostly short duration jobs. So here is today's horrible truth, no one should feel that comfortable in his or her job. We all need to keep our eyes on the lookout for opportunities, because most of us will be going from job to job, even late in our careers. Here are four strategies for conducting a 24/7 job hunt.

The direct approach. According to a study by Right Management, 7% of us get our jobs this way. Being direct means that you don't look for "help wanted" signs, you approach the kind of companies that you want to work for directly. A great place to start is with competitors, vendors and former customers. But there are even better ways to find a job…

An agency or recruiter. This is twice as successful, with 14% getting jobs this way. The best part here is that you're not pounding the pavement by yourself, you've got people pounding it for you. But this will require taking time to get known by them.

Job boards. 25% got their jobs this way. Job boards should be a part of everyone's job search. The only problem is that many people make it their only strategy.

Networking. 45% got a job this way. Do you see why I've been talking this up for the past sixteen years I've been writing this column? The best part, networking gets you exposure in the hidden job market. Let me explain. One Human Resources director once told me that whenever he runs a want ad for a position he feels like he's failed, because he should have been able to fill the position through his network. This is the hidden job market, where jobs are filled based on history, connections and people vouching for you can do.
Ms. Myers got busted for swapping light duty for a marathon, but with a 24/7 approach you can keep running from job to job. Just be sure to have your resume and Linkedin profile always updated and ready to go.

Bob Rosner is a best-selling author and award-winning journalist. For free job and work advice, check out the award-winning Check the revised edition of his Wall Street Journal best seller, "The Boss's Survival Guide." If you have a question for Bob, contact him via


Thought of the Week

"Someone once asked Peter O Toole his favorite role as an actor. He replied, The next one."

–Robert Osborne

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