Punching In

Punching In

The job market is changing year by year. Some changes are good, some are bad, but the landscape is much different now than it was a couple of generations ago. As World War II came to a close in 1945, many men came back from war, applied for a job, and punched the clock at that same company every day until they were ready to retire.

Over 80% of American males were employed in 1950 while only 65% are employed today. The average tenure at a single place of employment is less than 25% of what it was in those days and is getting shorter every year. In many ways this can be used as an advantage for people in the workforce today, but it forces you to always be one step ahead and be prepared if and when an opportunity presents itself.  To understand this further, in a survey done by Future Workforce, a Millennial (someone born between 1977 and 1997) is now expected to have between 15-20 jobs in their lifetime — a far cry from receiving that gold watch after 50 years of service.

The shift of our country has gone away from a base of manufacturing jobs and skilled labor to more professional and service roles. A mason had good reason to stay at a job for years and years if he was happy in his role and could dedicate his life to his craft, but today’s “project manager” is developing skills that can be used across many fields. Opportunities can be available if you know where to look, so it’s imperative to always be ready.

The single best way to prepare yourself for a potential job move to be active on LinkedIn. The social site allows you to network with people in your field, as well as host an updated resume. As we have covered before, 85% of recruiters look favorably on a positive online presence for a candidate. No matter how loyal of a person you feel you may be, it’s in your best interest to look out for yourself first.

Let’s face it, the number one goal of any public company is to increase shareholder wealth. If that requires cutting staff, so be it. Therefore, it makes sense to look at yourself as more of an independent contractor in your life’s employment journey. Being attached to a company or position for too long of a duration could result in reducing your earning potential, and more importantly your happiness. That said, it doesn’t mean you should be jumping from job to job every six months as employers most certainly do not look favorably at this tactic.

In our Reputation Management for College Grads guide, we outlined some tips on how to portray yourself in the best light possible on LinkedIn. These steps apply to any business professional, whether you’ve just graduated from college or have been in the job market for several years. By no means does this list only apply to people who are looking for a new job — it’s also a great method to ensure you’re equipped if a position arises that you simply can’t pass up, and it can also be looked at as an “in case of emergency” plan. If an event takes place and you feel as if you have to leave your current place of employment, it’s always better to be proactive than reactive.

Check out our recommendations on how to take advantage of your LinkedIn profile. These tips aren’t going to take days and days to set up and monitor; rather, they’re simple steps you can take on LinkedIn to ensure you’re well equipped if and when an opportunity does present itself.