The New Business World – Reinventing Yourself Professionally is Key

A colleague of mine from grad school refers to the current employment market as “the new business world.” He’s definitely on to something as it’s absolutely not business as usual out there for most employers or their hiring practices. Long gone are the days when candidates secured five or six interviews, received two or three job offers and picked the one which best fit their education, training, skill set, lifestyle and salary expectations. While that might still happen for some, the reality in this employment market is that it’s now the exception and not the rule.

To say it’s an “employers market” out there is an understatement. This might actually be one of the greatest “employers markets” of all time. Employers are in the greatest position ever to pick and choose candidates, find the most qualified candidates (when otherwise they would have been thrilled with someone who had 60-70% of the positions listed requirements) and offer salaries which result in a “take it or leave it” scenario. While many corporate employers were “fat” before the recession hit, they’ve gotten extremely “thin” since it occurred and there’s no sign of them putting the weight back on any time soon now that they’ve realized their businesses still operate with the reduced head counts.

So, the question is “how does this ‘new business world’ affect those that are already employed and those that are not?” At Professional Development Strategies, we believe several of the keys for those who are employed (and wish to remain employed) are to: make yourself as valuable to the business you work for as possible, be a solid team player, add new skills, have a great attitude. and be mindful of what you say, where you say it and who you say it to. You may want to go out on the Internet and bash your company on forums, social media apps and blogs but don’t. Companies monitor what’s being said about them online and people have been terminated for doing so. This is especially imperative with companies closely watching budgets, operational and financial performance. Add to that the fact that some companies are scrutinizing individual performance more than they’ve ever done before… looking to rid themselves of their lowest performing employees (terminate the bottom 10% of underachievers) and adding 10% of higher achieving employees back to the work force. There are never any guarantees you won’t get laid off, as organizational restructuring is often inevitable no matter what you do, but being a solid team player and making a valuable contribution to the business helps your chances of staying employed when others are being laid off.

For those that are unemployed, the “new business world” creates other professional challenges especially with 300-500 people often applying for ONE position. It’s very competitive out there and again we are reminded it’s an employers market! With that many candidates applying for one position, getting personalized service and attention from recruiters, head hunters and human resource professionals is almost impossible. But beyond that, some candidates have experienced the fact that given the volume of applicants vying for one position, getting ANY attention from recruiters, head hunters and human resource professionals is becoming increasingly more difficult. This leads many candidates to conclude that the online employment process is a “big black hole…” where applications go in but are never heard from ever again.

Whether the big black hole occurs as a result of the volume of applicants, the company’s inability to process that volume of applicants or a lack of staffing to handle the work load… (or all of the above) likely varies from company to company but one thing is certain, to be competitive in this type of employer’s market requires candidates to be flexible, creative, persistent, insightful about their skillsets/abilities and perhaps even to reinvent themselves professionally.

Reinventing yourself professionally is a significant consideration as there are entire industries that have “dried up” requiring employees to change careers when it wouldn’t have otherwise been their first choice to do so. However, under these circumstances, the necessity that working, earning a living and supporting a family creates is often the motivating factor behind professional reinvention.

So, what does it mean to reinvent yourself professionally? Simply put, “being something that you weren’t before.” According to Marc Cenedella’s Career Advice Blog, “When you can’t change your circumstances, consider changing yourself – this can be a modest tune up, or a head-to-toe overhaul,” generally involving your skill sets, career focus, or personal branding. These are core elements of professional reinvention and given the new business world and competitive employment market are significant keys to future success!


Dan Draz