Headlines. Job Market. Your Mindset.

Inflation and interest rates are rising, stock markets and real estate prices are declining. In the next few months, and most likely into 2023, you’ll see headlines such as:

“Job Market Showing Signs of Cooling”

 “Worst Job Market in Decades”

 “Unemployment Lines Growing”

You know, clickbait headlines written to evoke angst, which then can be easily manipulated. Putting headlines aside, with interest rates heading upwards, a global pandemic that isn’t officially over, a punishing stock market and turbulent geopolitics, an economic reckoning is inevitable.

The job market seems to be divided into two parts. On the one hand, Canada’s unemployment rate falling from 5.2 percent in April to 5.1 percent in May—the lowest level since comparable data became available in 1976—indicates an economy that continues to add jobs. The current “holistic job market picture” narrative, being told by the media, paints a picture of a shortage of workers to fill job vacancies. 

Then there’s the media reporting, almost daily, layoffs and hiring freezes, particularly in the technology sector and among start-ups. According to an internal email seen by Reuters news agency earlier this month, with the subject line “pause all hiring worldwide,” Tesla CEO Elon Musk wants to halt hiring and cut jobs due to a “super bad feeling” about the economy.

Is the sky falling? No. However, the winds of change are blowing.

Despite economic uncertainty, emails I’m receiving from readers indicate:

  • There’s still a tendency to seek new employment opportunities.
  • Conversely, employees are hesitant or afraid to leave their current employers. (It’s common knowledge should layoffs happen, the general rule is “Last one in, first one out.” You don’t want to be the new kid on the block.)
  • Employees are concerned about their career paths.

In such uncertain times, I’d be remiss if I didn’t advise—stress—the importance of carefully considering a job change. I’m not saying you shouldn’t explore opportunities. I’m advising being careful about the opportunities and, more importantly, the employers you’re exploring. Thoroughly vet the employer’s history, past growth, potential future growth, and staff turnover. 

Now’s not the time to change your employer for the sake of change. Have a solid reason for switching. How do you envision the company and its associated industry coping with economic turmoil? As we saw with the pandemic, there were essential industries which grew over the past 2 years and industries/employers the government deemed non-essential, which literally got decimated. Though there’re no guarantees, for pragmatic reasons, you want to be employed in an essential industry such as energy and utilities, pharmaceuticals, food, or financial services.

Avoid industries that depend on discretionary income, such as entertainment, travel, hospitality, or luxury goods. When consumers cut back on spending on non-essentials, these industries take the brunt of the hit and take the longest to recover. Avoid start-ups as well. Understandably investors are taking a cautious approach to the market, which has led venture-backed companies, which tend to be start-ups, to slow or cut hiring. 

It’s crucial to have the right mindset when searching for a job.

Sky-falling headlines can lead to a scarcity mindset, leading to seeing limitations rather than opportunities. You feel like everything is against you, why bother?

Don’t stress over what you can’t control.

“Instead of worrying about what you cannot control, shift your energy to what you can create.” – Roy T. Bennett, author of The Light in the Heart.

  1. Create a result-oriented résumé that WOWs! A résumé that clearly displays your results. If necessary, hire someone to help you tell your career story; it’ll be money well spent. Ensure the person you hire is a Certified Résumé Strategist (CRS) and a Career Professionals of Canada member. The same goes for your LinkedIn profile. Read LinkedIn Profile Optimization For Dummies 2nd Edition, by Donna Serdula.
  2. Create relationships. People hire people, therefore, focus on relationships. Expand your professional network by using your current connections (family, friends, neighbours, current and former colleagues) and asking for introductions. Become visible!
  3. Create your future by investing in it. For instance, if a Digital Marketing certification will help you land your dream job, do it! Your future self will thank you.
  4. Create an Internet presence that’ll boost your job search and career. Your digital footprint influences your job search—you’ll be Googled to determine if you’re interview-worthy. Clean up your online presence. (Delete all posts, comments, photos, and videos that might turn employers off.) Optimize your LinkedIn profile. Post content that showcases your expertise in your field.

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Nick Kossovan, a well-seasoned veteran of the corporate landscape, offers advice on searching for a job. You can send Nick your questions at artoffindingwork@gmail.com.

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