Working Wounded: Wading Into the Job Market

DEAR READERS: Most of us believe that our knowledge about job hunting is up to date. After all, we've landed many jobs this way. A reader recently wrote to me saying that her job-hunting skills were obsolete and that she profited from getting them current. She raises a great question that we should all ask ourselves:

Dear WOUNDED: A Greek historian argued that "hunting" is an asset to society, in that it promotes the well-being and health of the hunter. Although I disdain game hunting, it's funny how this statement is not too far off from job hunting. Did you know it's a 'jungle' out there in the job market? I'm not advocating you look for a new job, but, not knowing up-to-date market trends, benefits or salary ranges in your current field is not good for your well-being or health.

When was the last time you went hunting for a job? Do you remember how? Do you rely on a lucky shot? Do you know the market for your skills? Is your resume up to date and ready to be sent out the moment an opportunity presents itself? Do you need a guide to help you or will you venture out into the jungle alone?

My strategy for job hunting changed about four years ago. I had been working for an accounting firm for over 10 years when, during a performance appraisal, there was a comment regarding salary: "We're better than the going market." I really enjoyed my position at the time so I had no idea what the going market was. It was time to take stock, gear up and go hunting.

After 10 years, my resume needed revamping. Just as there are different techniques for game hunting such as snares or nets, the job-hunting market had dramatically changed, requiring new techniques for job searching. It was strange terrain scanning the numerous Internet sites, job sites, bulletins, newspapers, recruiters, agencies and internal job listings.

Doing my homework on employers of interest, I submitted six resumes to potential employers. Some had positions of interest available; others were sent out in hopes of hitting the hidden market. As luck would have it, my resume crossed the desk of a former employee of the accounting firm, who was currently working within the government sector. Although my accounting firm was correct about being within the salary range, I found they failed miserably in the benefits, job advancement and employee satisfaction departments. I'm happy to say, I took the government position at approximately the same salary but I enjoy better benefits. Recently I've been reclassified, resulting in an increase in salary, and opportunities for advancement.

I made a promise to not become that out of touch with the job market again. I review job listings periodically and check market trends quarterly. I also keep my resume up to date. One never knows when or what opportunities or advancements may present themselves, and I'd like to be in a position to respond when they do.

Online Ballot and Contest

Here are the results from a recent online ballot:

Working Wounded/ online ballot question: Which movie title best sums up your feelings about your company's prospects in '07?

  • "Fantastic Voyage," 21.4 percent
  • "Ordinary People," 39.2 percent
  • "Apocalypse Now," 39.2 percent

Thought for the Week

Our thought for the week comes from LC, who wrote in about the column featuring my predictions for 2007, "The Year of the Little Guy (& Gal).":

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