The US government is on a wild spending spree in an attempt to prop up truly dismal employment numbers. More Americans are out of work than at any time since the Carter recession of the 1970’s. Worse, unemployment is no longer a temporary situation for most. Millions of Americans have been unemployed for so long that the government no longer counts them in the unemployment statistics. They are now officially “not part of the work force.” Even worse, many Americans who do have jobs have seen their working hours and they paychecks slashed to cover the costs of ObamaCare. The situation for the working men and women of America is the most grim it has been in forty years.
Still, even under these pressures, most Americans who want to work are able to find some kind of employment. They are able to take care of their families, pay their bills, and hope for a brighter future. What separates the winners from the losers? Why does one person enjoy relative job security while another person languishes on the unemployment rolls?
Be Able to Earn Your Employer a Profit
Employers have families of their own to feed and bills of their own to pay, they don’t hire people out of a charity. Employers hire people who will earn them more money than they cost to employ. The cost to employ a person is their salary, their benefits, government taxes and fees (FICA, FUTA, SUTA, and Workmans Comp), the costs of their office and equipment, and the costs of any necessary training. Employing people is the single largest expense for most businesses.
To become employed and to remain employed, you must be able to earn your employer enough revenue to pay for all of those expenses — plus a little more to pay for his time and effort. You may do this by frying hamburgers, operating heavy equipment, selling vinyl windows, or emptying bed pans. Whatever you do, make sure it is adding to the bottom-line profits of the business. During an economic downturn employers examine every job role and cut those that are not contributing to the bottom line. A company may employ a feng shiu office designer in a strong economy when making money is easy, but when times get tough those people get cut. For job security, make your employer a profit.
Have Provable Skills
Skills often don’t help you obtain a job if you can’t prove that you have them. Most interviewers don’t have the ability to determine if an applicant has the necessary skills and therefore they have to have some way to validate those skills.
One method is to have a strong resume which lists relevant skills and experience, along with references to validate all of the information listed. If you are an artist or a craftsman, your best resume will be a full portfolio of your previous work.
In many fields you can obtain professional certifications to prove your skills. For example, in the computer networking field the Cisco CCIE and ISC2 CISSP certifications can go a long way to proving ones skills. In other fields, you will need a degree or a degree combined with a professional examination such as the bar exam or the CPA exam).
These proofs don’t make you any more valuable to most employers, but they do get you in the door.
Maintain a Good Network
When the economy falters, people focus on taking care of their family first, friends second, and everyone else last. When unemployment is high, business won’t even advertise job openings. Not only would that be an unnecessary expense, but it would also mean that they would have to deal with a flood of desperate applicants. Instead, prospective employers put out the word on the “old boys network” that they are looking to hire. This gets them applicants who are likely to fit their corporate culture and it lets them give preference to their friends and family.
Your reputation in your community and in your field of work can make the difference between finding a job with a few phone calls and wasting months sending resumes to strangers. Be known as a productive employee, a good team member, and a nice person and you will seldom find yourself facing job insecurity.
Keep Your Skills Up to Date
Employers hate training, not just due to the cost of training, but also because while an employee is busy being trained they aren’t busy earning the employer money. An employer will be much more likely to hire you if you can start being productive on day one than if you will require refresher training or time to get your skills back up to speed. The faster you can become productive, the faster your employer can start earning a profit from hiring you.
If you are unemployed, you will want to maintain your skills. Attend training classes during your unemployed time or teach training classes during your downtime. Look for opportunities to volunteer your skills to worthy charities or individuals in your community. Networking within your community and industry to find volunteer opportunities will also help you connect with paid opportunities.