Edmonds Military Wire: How to get hired in today’s economy

By Michael Schindler

Talk about a confusing time – the Consumer Confidence Index rose in September to its highest level in seven months, despite the Business Roundtable (which is a conglomerate of U.S. chief executives headed up by James McNerney Jr., CEO of Boeing) stating that “only 29 percent of its member CEOs plan to increase hiring over the next six months.” Consumer confidence is high, yet the outlook for jobs is low.

With this news, one could very well be “positively” certain they aren’t going to get hired. Yet our home values are rising, same with the stock market and our outlook is that things will get better.  Is this the rise of the power of positive thinking?

So if you are “positively” unemployed, how does one beat the odds and get hired in today’s economy? That saying, “It’s not what you know but who you know” is very true. Especially today.

I’ll explain, but first let me explain the challenge.

CEOs are looking ahead into next year and have concerns about the looming U.S. budget cuts and tax increases that are set to take effect in January of 2013. You’ve likely heard folks talk about the “fiscal cliff.” Now you know what it is. On top of the fiscal cliff concerns are the concerns of slowdowns in Europe and China.

As a result, fewer members of the Business Roundtable plan to hire. In June of this year, 36 percent thought they would hire. In early 2011, 52 percent of the CEOs said they planned to increase their hiring. Now that number is 29 percent.

You may be confident but your potential future boss isn’t.

If you are going to conquer unemployment, you need to have a multi-front approach. Here’s what you need to do:  Tap your Linked In network and build your online profile at H2H Jobs or Recruit Military.

I’m not going to speak poorly of job fairs but I will tell you that there are very few that produce actual hiring opportunities. Long lines, crowds and ample noise rarely present the ideal opportunity for you to present why you are the answer to some company’s talent deficit.

So with that being said, you need to work your contacts and get introductions through Linked In. It’s not what you know as much as it is who you know in this stage of the game. You’ve got skills and now you need to match them up with an employer – here are some suggested steps:
1. Find companies through Linked In that would appear to employ your expertise.
2. Get an introduction. (Sorry, I don’t buy the “I don’t know anyone” line. You do. You just have to figure out who in your network that person is.)
3. Set a coffee appointment or phone call. Listen to their need and then match your skills up with their need.
4. Be prepared to be hired for less than what you think you should be paid.

The reality is the above four steps could take months – and they require work. The dad at your child’s soccer game might actually be the answer to your employment problem. Be bold.

Bottom line: It is time to get out of your comfort zone. Network. Don’t just fill out the application; find someone on the “inside” who can advocate for you. And know this, you aren’t the only one “fighting for milk.”

Michael Schindler, Navy veteran, and president of Edmonds-based Operation Military Family, is a guest writer for several national publications, author of the book “Operation Military Family” and “The Military Wire” blog. He is also a popular keynote and workshop speaker who reaches thousands of service members and their families every year through workshops and seminars that include  “How to Battle-Ready Your Relationship” or “What Your Mother-in-Law Didn’t Tell You.”  He received the 2010 Outstanding Patriotic Service Award from the Washington State Department of Veterans Affairs.

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