Sunday, 10 January 2010

Now is not the time to be going back to work or looking for a new job. Or is it?
2009 saw one of the most difficult years in history for both employers and employees. But this is 2010 and we can start the year with new resolutions and renewed optimism. The government and many employers are starting to see what they call ‘green shoots of recovery’ but the market is still remaining cautious. One thing that is certain is that when the recovery comes, you need to make sure that you are well placed to take advantage of it and be ready to put your foot on the ladder sooner rather than later.

So where are the jobs and what are they? We have seen a lot of changes when looking for work. Having the right credentials (qualifications, experience etc) used to be enough to safeguard a good job or move easily and productively into a new role. Now you not only need to have these credentials, but also the ability to ‘rise above the competition’.

This can be daunting at anytime in your career and particularly if you have taken that important and well earned break to spend time with your young family. However don’t let this put you off.

We are seeing an upsurge in the number of part-time, temporary and long and short term contracts appearing in the job market. When looking to fit a work life balance around child care this could prove beneficial for both companies and jobseekers alike. This could offer a fantastic opportunity if you have strong transferable skills and are keen to get back into the work place. It allows you to approach employers with flexible arrangements that could help you build your career while your family grow and thrive. An arrangement such as this also provides a much needed, cheaper alternative for employers.

Employers have never been more open to flexible working. They are far more likely to think out of the box when filling a traditionally full-time, permanent role. It may provide the opportunity for a working parent to put their transferable skills to good use. In times where cash is tight, knowing that you can potentially save a full-time salary and employ someone who has bought into your organisations visions and values is extremely appealing. There are also many more opportunities for home working as this can also have the advantage to employers in saving office overheads.
For some it may be the time to consider going self employed or working in a consultative role. This maybe an alternative answer to fast tracking you back into the job market on your own terms. This is not without hard work and a certain amount of risk but can give you long term rewards you never thought you would achieve. Consider taking stock of:

- Your personal interests
- Skills and abilities (what are your achievements?)
- The market opportunities for your skills

This is a worthy exercise to understand what you have to offer and what is likely to give you the most job satisfaction while fitting in with your desired lifestyle.
A staggering 70% of job vacancies are unadvertised. Believing you can get your dream job on your terms is the first step to achieving it. The next step is creating opportunities with potential employers in a way that will be mutually beneficial for you both. Don’t be afraid to network. This doesn’t mean getting suited and booted with a pile of homemade business cards! There are of course circumstances where this can work, but really, it’s about speaking to people around you. You will be amazed at how many opportunities are around. However, until you identify what you have to offer and specifically want, they may never appear.
So don’t wait another year for the media to tell you it’s time to get back into the job market. Historically after every recession the job market comes back stronger than it was before. If that’s the case then creating an opportunity on your terms now means you will be in a stronger position when things are good. Take things into your own hands and work at creating the opportunity. Plan your career goals and how they will work with your chosen lifestyle and go for it. After all …. it is a New Year.

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