Battling unemployment in the digital dimension


unemployment!

“She needs me now but I can’t seem to find the time.  I’ve got a new job now in the unemployment line. And we don’t know how we got into this mess, it’s a god’s test, someone help us cause we’re doing our best.”

With an increasingly unstable world economy, the lyrics from the Script’s 2012 chart-topping hit have never rung more true.

According to a recent study conducted by Rutgers University in the United States, less than half of all 2009 graduates secured a full-time job within a year. Of that percentage, only half of these lucky hires reported satisfaction in their role.

That’s roughly 90,000 people struggling with unemployment and career dissatisfaction.

Experienced professionals are constantly forced to seek below their level, squeezing newbies out of the value-chain altogether.

The question stands: As a job seeker, what can you do to elevate yourself above a cess pool of stagnant talent?

What many people don’t realize, is that applying for jobs is now only one per cent of the battle. With the rise of the digital dimension, the tools now exist to self-promote your most valuable commodity; you.

Networking

The internet is a resource, not a solution. Job seeking professionals should use it as a tool to engineer genuine, real-world relationships rather than treating it as the means to an end.

After over a decade of polls, CareerXroads’ ‘Sources of Hire Survey‘ continues to show referrals as the primary hiring source across all industry sectors. Employers want to know as much as possible about potential candidates, including who you know and who else values you as a commodity.

Likewise, networking opens the door to jobs that have not yet been posted or may never be formally advertised. There is a whole volcano of sneaky career opportunities smoldering under the radar of main-stream recruitment.

Social Media

Most job seekers don’t bother to develop an online identity and feel that social media doesn’t apply to their industry. But the truth is, social media is multilateral.

At the end of the day, professional success comes down to one thing; confidence. If you don’t show any self-interest, why should anyone else? An active social media presence shows confidence in your skills, confidence in your industry, and  most importantly, confidence in yourself.

By posting examples of your work, re-tweeting industry news, blogging about your latest triumphs, you are providing tangible proof of your dedication and enthusiasm for what you do.

When your application eventually lands on their desk, employers will notice and applaud your multidimensional commitment.

The Direct Approach

The email inbox is where all good job opportunities go to die.

From the instant you click send, that email turns into Nemo, the clown fish. If you don’t follow it up with hyperactive persistence, an ocean of carnivorous sea creatures will descend to swallow your dreams whole. Not exactly, but close enough.

With today’s digital hiring procedures, HR in-boxes are flooded with hundreds of emails. Often you will never receive a reply. I have been told by several interviewers that I would not have been considered, had I failed to follow up.

Additionally, stalking businesses through social media portals is not only a good idea, it is expected. The editor of a magazine asked me in an interview, “have you liked us on Facebook yet?” Of course…

The Glory of LinkedIn

God help you if you are not on linkedIn.

As one of the most commanding social media networks, LinkedIn allows companies to pool their prospects within a single platform. Most importantly, it facilitates conversation between all walks of business.

By merging my Facebook friends with my account, I was shocked by the people I was suddenly connected to.

This is how I came to connect with Michael Lohan, the unfortunate brother of the drug slugging sensation we all know and probably don’t love. I can’t wait to harness that resource.

The Way Forward

The biggest mistake first-world entrepreneurs make is to view digital platforms as the soft copy extension of the CV. While a CV is a static, inactive slab, your online identity is a calico cat; purring your animated message to a pliant pool of potentials.

In a global professional climate where value is measured in eminence and billion dollar ideas are a brain-fart away, we all have to work a little bit harder to promote the unique within ourselves.

The next time you find yourself second-man down in an interview line up, log in, link up, and look sharp!

Happiness is.


fiji

Following her trip to Fiji, my friend Olivia spoke of a boy she met on the street.

“We ran into a group of enthusiastic, fresh faced locals, having some fun on a break from work. They were the happiest group of young people I have met in my life,” She said.

“One boy was ecstatic because working 12 hours a day 7 days a week for 4 cents an hour, he had finally managed to save enough money to take his brother to the movies. It was inspiring; he had not one bad word to say about his lifestyle.”

Incandescent with pleasure, he was oblivious to the unfairness of his situation and happy as pie with the cards he had been dealt.© Matt Dayka - Vitamin Angels GT14-9157-2

Conclusion: Happiness isn’t conditional, it just is.

It’s sad that from an early age, we are spoon-fed propaganda that forces us to believe that to be happy, we need things. We must buy this, go there, study that, or change who we are to meet some kind of social standards. And THEN we will be happy. But we never get there.

That new Maserati feels great for a few moments, and then we are onto the next consumerist quest. The next item on the master checklist. Then the newer models roll out and 5 minutes later your ‘state of the art’  technology is obsolete. It’s the “Give A Mouse A Cookie” philosophy on a universal scale.

In an image-obsessed society where creating the perfect ‘you’ is just a credit card click away, we stake all our values in the wrong pots. As humans, it’s natural to compare what we have to our neighbor, but the social schematics of first-world living drives this instinct to disgustingly unnatural heights.

And it extends beyond materialism. Until I “get this promotion” or “reach that status”,  I will not be the person I want to be. When did we start measuring self-worth by what we don’t have, instead of what we do? “I’m not good enough.”, “I can’t afford that.”, “I’m not ready.”

© Matt Dayka - Vitamin Angels GT14-9181As that choking veil of inadequacy settles over you and an unsatisfied wish-list drags you into a dream-dashed depression, remember one boy in Fiji who has nothing and everything at the same time.