Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Employer Expectations: Are they realistic?

In the past several months, there has been a noticeable increase in hiring activity around the country.  Candidates are starting to get multiple interviews and in some cases multiple offers, which is a positive sign that employers are starting to invest in their organizations again.  To that extent, there still seems to be a sense that companies are looking for top talent at lower pay levels.

To that extent, the wave of layoffs has not completely come to a close either.  Just yesterday I heard of one very large organization that is in the process of sending many operational and maintenance functions overseas, effecting hundreds of jobs, giving people 30-days notice to find a new position.  In this market, there are people who have been looking for nearly a year, so the idea that one might get 30 days to land on their feet doesn't seem like much time.

So what should you do?

If you are in the job market, looking for a new opportunity or just trying to land a job, the first thing you must consider is your compensation expectations.  Jut because you were making a certain salary in the past does not mean you are worth that much in today's economy.  You should expect to consider offers 20 to 30% less than your current income level.  On top of that, you should expect to work 20 to 30% more hours and take on more responsibility than you current position requires. 

Secondly, you must spend some time considering your geographic options.  It is not always easy to relocate.  We all have families, obligations, and other commitments that make it very difficult to pack up and move, but if you find yourself in a situation where you are out of options in your current area, don't take relocating off the table.  In a recent article, I read that this is one of the most transient populations America has seen in many generations.  With house rices still falling and foreclosures still on the rise, there is a gluttony of rental properties on the market.  Use that to your advantage.  If a company offers you a job in another city, don't simply dismiss it.  There may be some real benefits to picking up and moving.

Finally, it is really important that you use your network to reach out to as many people as possible.  It is not just about networking though.  You have to have a strategy for utilizing that network, and learn how to engage them to help you meet your goal.  Connecting is the first step, but getting others to help you is harder than you think.  First you must have a clear goal of what you want and then you have to ask for the assistance and then you have to follow up.  Then follow up some more.  And then some more...

There are many opinions on how to get to your ultimate destination.  The important thing is that you start down a path today that will get you there today because by tomorrow, the opportunities will no longer be available. 

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