I learned how to present myself in the best possible way. Very happy about this hour spent with you.  - Undergraduate attending Sian's seminar

Crunching the unemployment numbers- what does it mean for me?

18th July 2012

This morning the latest unemployment figures were released to a slightly mixed reception. I had kindly been invited to contribute to a discussion on BBC Coventry and Warwickshire Radio to ponder the numbers. I just want to say a huge thank you to Elliott, Stuart and Simon for their charming welcome. 

 We tried to peek behind the headlines to consider what the numbers mean for the real live job seekers across the region and the country and as ever when trying to make sense of the national numbers, it is hard to hear individual stories. 

Hooray for the 65,000 jobs secured over the last quarter, that must be honestly celebrated as a signal that employers are  feeling more confident. However, all day the politicians have been arguing across all sorts of media about the impact of those jobs. The national unemployment rate may be 8.1%, slightly lower than last quarter, but what does that mean for my region and my target job role? We hear that many jobseekers needing and wanting full time and permanent work are settling for part time and temporary work. ( See Chapter 1 of Nail That Job, the complete guide for the less-experienced jobseeker: 'need' and 'want' are not necessarily the same thing)     

I mentioned 2 examples of SME employers I have been speaking to about their struggles to secure a willing trainee - in 2 different industries, employers are willing to commit to a long term investment and offer trainees a chance to build up their skills. Both employers are struggling to find someone willing to make that long term investment too.

Meanwhile we touched on the potential barriers facing older career changers and the 'no work experience, no job' Catch 22 situation for youngsters looking for their first step on the career ladder. Despite recent research suggesting that employers tend to avoid candidates at both ends of the working age range in favour of those somewhere towards the young end of  'experienced', I know from direct experience of coaching that passion, focus and perseverence will get you noticed by the right employer whatever your age.

 To conclude my thoughts on turning the headline numbers into real job seeking efforts, my suggestions would be: if you are young, any work experience will give you some valuable learning to build into your CV. if you have more years of experience under your belt, do your research to show commitment, focus and transferable skills to potential target  organsations. There are some useful exercises on identifying your many transferable skills in Chapter 1 of Nail That Job to demonstrate how much you have learned in past roles and present this in a way that convinces a new employer that you can continue to learn new skills. 

For anyone who was listening to the interview, i haven't yet made my coffee date with Neil from the Careers Service- I'll keep you posted, and for anyone who missed it, please click here.


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