As mentioned before, gone are the days when you could throw resumes at a bunch of “help wanted” ads in the local papers and hope enough would stick to get you a new job. The initial successor to that haphazard technique—posting your resume on a zillion online job boards—has also run into major problems over the past few years. For one thing, this change meant that you had a much larger competitive arena to struggle with in order to gain employer recognition and responses. Instead of just competing with people more or less in your local market, suddenly you found that your competition could be located many miles away, in another state or even in another country.
When you compound that situation with the gloomy economic news—not only in the United States but essentially worldwide—you can see yourself as facing a really formidable job search challenge. Based on the majority of the news reports, it would appear that hardly any companies are hiring, anywhere, and there’s going to be a huge influx of resumes for those precious few positions that might open up.
Macro versus micro job search
So the macro job search approach you’ve probably used in the past has stopped working, and given the current outlook, tough times aren’t going away any time soon. What does that mean in terms of your personal employment outlook or prospects for a healthy career path? To begin with, let’s consider the real possibility that bright spots do exist in the employment world, even if they sometimes resemble a moving target that only a sharpshooting Annie Oakley could hit. Gloom-and-doom isn’t absolutely universal; it just seems that way!
Although the current and immediately foreseeable job market conditions present an overall “down” image, bright spots do offer some hope for determined job seekers. Finding them, however, requires a new approach to job searching, and a key element of that approach is a “micro” attitude. That attitude says you need to research to find out where things seem to be going well—or at least noticeably better than most other locations, industries, companies, and so on. For example, what geographical locations, industries and organizations appear to be successfully bucking the trend? Pull information from all the reliable sources you can identify and evaluate the clues that information gives you about places and jobs you can reasonably focus on—put some mental muscle into, so to speak.
Sometimes, considering a situation from the macro perspective is the right thing to do. However, looking for a new employment opportunity or career advancement possibility in today’s job market probably isn’t one of those times. On its own, macro doesn’t offer great potential for success these days; however, pairing it with a micro job search approach could increase your prospects for success at least somewhat. That’s a lot better than throwing up your hands in despair and giving up all hope of landing a new job that meets your needs.