In This Brutal Job Market, You Must Be Strategic, Realistic And Forward Thinking About Your Career

We’re entering a brutal job market, where you just can’t take anything for granted. You must be very strategic, realistic and forward thinking when it comes to your career.

You’ve probably seen lists like the one below all over the internet. Understandably, they’re made in good faith and with the best of intentions. The authors are trying their best to share some good news. We all need to read positive things. It’s uplifting to learn that companies are still hiring during this awful time when we’ve had over 30 million people lose their jobs since mid-March and the unemployment rate skyrocketed to around 14%.

Here’s who’s hiring right now

  • Instacart says it’s looking to hire 300,000 contract workers over the next three months.
  • Amazon says it’s looking to hire 175,000 new workers for its fulfillment centers and delivery network.
  • Albertsons is hiring 50,000 people for open roles.
  • CVS Health is hiring 50,000 employees to serve in various capacities across its business.
  • Walmart is hiring 50,000 workers for its distribution and fulfillment centers.
  • Dollar General says it’s looking to add 50,000 employees by the end of April.
  • FedEx is hiring 35,000 people for essential roles.
  • Allied Universal is hiring more than 30,000 people for open positions.
  • Pizza Hut is hiring 30,000 permanent employees to serve as drivers, shift leaders, cooks and managers.
  • Ace Hardware is hiring 30,000 people to work in its stores nationwide.
  • Lowe’s is hiring 30,000 employees to meet the demand created by the coronavirus.
  • Dollar Tree, which is also the parent company of Family Dollar, is hiring 25,000 workers for its stores and distribution centers.
  • Walgreens is hiring 25,000 employees for permanent and temporary roles.
  • Papa John’s is hiring 20,000 workers to meet demand.
  • 7-Eleven is hiring up to 20,000 employees due to increased demand.
  • Kroger is looking to hire an additional 20,000 workers across the U.S.

What these types of lists don’t tell you is that beneath the positive headline, the jobs are primarily for lower-wage and gig-economy workers. That’s fine; however, if you add up the number of jobs available, it pales in comparison to the vast amount of people who’ve lost their jobs. These open roles are nowhere near enough to absorb the staggering amount of people out of work.

It’s also disheartening that there will be a lot of people all vying for the same jobs. With so many people competing, it will be easy for companies to take advantage of the situation. It’s basic economics. If you have too much supply, the value decreases. Since we have record numbers of people out of work, companies could pay less money, offer fewer hours of work and cut benefits. What many of the lists lack is any reference to well-paying, white-collar jobs. There are needs in the tech sector and some other areas too. Otherwise, it’s glaringly obvious that the lists don’t show too many good jobs for professionals with five, 10 or more years of experience.

For college-educated professionals things look somber. Companies may elect to hire a younger person with less experience who can be paid a fraction of what a 40 year old would require. Now that companies are comfortable with remote work-from-home options, this trend could backfire against anyone who is 35 years and older. The companies can hire folks in any city, state or country that has a lower cost of living and get someone much cheaper than what they’d pay a person in expensive places, like New York City, Los Angeles, Boston or Chicago.

Unless things turn around, it seems that the companies will hold all of the cards. Workers at any age or experience level will have a rough time. There will be intense competition for every job opening and lower compensation offered, along with fewer benefits and less job security. You’ll be afraid to raise objections or complain, as you’ll know that you can be easily replaced by one of the millions of other people out of work.

There are some sectors, professions and jobs that offer job security, as specific skills are in demand. These, unfortunately, are far and few between. The key is to somehow find something where you have a unique skill set that is in demand, so that you have some bargaining power and will be sought after. If you don’t have it, use this time to learn new skills, so that you won’t be at the mercy of the companies and you’ll have some leverage.

Although remote work may hurt some, it may also help you too. Instead of relying upon jobs available only in your immediate commuting distance, apply to any and all jobs that resonate with you and ask to be considered for a work-from-home option.

Contact anyone you can think of to ask for a job lead. Push it a little more and ask them to put in a good word for you with the hiring manager or decision maker. Don’t stop with just one person; find another couple of employees at the place where you would like to work. Have them also say nice complementary things about you to the hiring manager and human resources person involved with the interviewing process. When they have three different in-house employees all recommending you, they’ll believe that you must be a rockstar.

Take to social media and build a presence that highlights you as an expert and leader in your space. If you don’t market yourself, no one else will either. Don’t be a braggart, just simply offer advice, guidance and suggestions that are relevant and helpful to people in your niche. Complement others and respond to their postings with intelligent answers that further discourse. Before long, people will feel that they know you, even though you’ve never met them in person. When a suitable job arises, it’s likely that one of the people you connected with on social media will recommend you, since they feel comfortable with and respect you and are happy to lend a helping hand.

You need to have this type of motivated and aggressive attitude. It won’t be easy to do if you are introverted, but you have to at least try. We’re entering a job market where you can’t take anything for granted and must be very strategic, realistic and forward thinking about your career.

Source: Forbes