December 8, 2009

Looking ahead to the job prospects for 2010

Even with the recent unemployment figures which showed increases in overall employment, there are still legitimate concerns that a full economic recovery and a return to pre-recession employment levels will take longer than expected.

Margaret Steen, writing for Yahoo! HotJobs, spoke with a number of American recruiters and HR consultants about the lingering concerns over the unemployment rate - and how those that are both employed and unemployed should respond to it.

In the article, Steen interviews Sophia Koropeckyj, the managing director of Economy.com, who said that hiring will remain stagnant before gradually starting to increase in the middle of 2010. However, Koropeckyj also said that some industries, including construction and the trades, will likely begin to hire sooner - meaning it's a good time for students to start looking at the skilled trades and apprenticeships as viable, recession-proof career options.

And given that unemployment rates for students and youth tend to be higher than the rate for the general population, it is the younger generation that is most hard-hit by the stagnant, and in some cases increasing, unemployment rate.

But according to Steen, it's not all doom and gloom, even though the industries that students tend to gravitate to - retail, tourism, hospitality, and the like - take longer to recovery as they are industries based on consumer spending.

Should you find yourself unemployed, Steen recommends looking for a 'survival job' - a job you take to earn money and ensure that your resume doesn't have any large employment gaps.

For some, this might seem counterproductive, but remember that regardless of the job, there are transferrable skills that you can develop and hone, such as customer service and time management skills.

Of course, with more people going for these 'survival jobs', it again becomes a case of standing out from the crowd.

However, if you find yourself employed, now is probably not the time to consider switching jobs, unless you have a firm offer. Instead, as Steen recommends, look for ways to make the most of your current job. For example, think about ways you can learn and develop new skills that you could use later in your career.

But regardless of your employment situation, remember that unemployment rates, like other statistics, are open to interpretation.

Don't let a high rate of unemployment scare you into not looking for a job - it just means that it will be more difficult as there will be more competition for fewer jobs.

But with a well-written resume and cover letter and a targeted job search, eventually you'll land a job - be it your ideal position or a temporary 'survival job'.

After all, in this economy, a job is a job!

For the full-text article from Margaret Steen, click here.

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