Just because naysayers claim no one is hiring doesn’t mean you can’t find the perfect job, says Ford Myers, an employment expert based in Haverford, PA. It just might take a little longer and it will require persistence, organization, and a change in mindset.
Myers will speak about his book, “Get the Job You Want, Even When No One’s Hiring,” on Thursday, August 6, at 7 p.m. at Barnes & Noble in the MarketFair Mall. For more information on this free talk, call 609-716-1570.
According to Myers, many jobseekers operate under misconceptions, which lead them to spend their time looking for a job ineffectively. People mistakenly believe:
Sitting behind your computer and answering online ads will get you a job. “That’s totally faulty, incorrect thinking,” says Myers. “Very, very few people get jobs that way. The jobs that make it to the jobs boards are usually the least desirable or attractive jobs. Otherwise, they wouldn’t have to advertise for them.”
Secondly, he says, employers can get 10,000 applicants for every job. “Your chances of landing that job are around 1 in 10,000. It’s really a huge waste of time.”
Thinking you can get a job based on your credentials and work experience. “If you are relying on your credentials, you will not succeed in today’s market,” says Myers. “Maybe five years ago that worked, but not today.”
In today’s market, Myers explains, success is defined by producing results. One needs to produce tangible results and show a record of quantifiable accomplishments.
Thinking that common sense and street smarts will get you through an interview. Myers advises jobseekers to prepare — study the employer and the employer’s needs; speak with people familiar with the employer; and prepare a series of materials that highlight your qualifications.
You can’t negotiate in this climate because you should be lucky just to get an offer. “You must negotiate, especially now,” Myers says. He explains that employers are looking for savvy business professionals. If you haven’t done your research on your worth in a particular position, and if you don’t negotiate to earn that amount, it casts doubt upon how well you will negotiate on behalf of your employer when you are working there.
Thinking that a recruiter will find you a job. “No, no, no,” says Myers. “A recruiter is nothing more than a vehicle or tool to leverage.”
Thinking that a resume is the only or primary tool to use in a job search. “That’s a huge misconception that so many people have,” says Myers. In his book, he recommends a variety of career search tools, including a professional biography, a collection of accomplishment stories, a networking list, and the use of various social media tools.
And remember to make networking a priority. Myers used to recommend that 80 to 85 percent of search time be spent on networking. Now he recommends 95 percent.
Also, if you need to build your resume and your list of accomplishments, consider taking what Meyers calls a bridge job — a job that may offer less pay and less responsibility than you may desire, but that will keep you plugged in, keep you busy, and give you networking opportunities while you search for your ideal job.
Myers, whose business, Career Potential, is based in Haverford, with a second office in Radnor, grew up in Philadelphia. His mother was a homemaker and is an antiques dealer. His father, at age 81, remains an executive with Polo Ralph Lauren.
Myers is a career changer himself, which he believes helps him to counsel others in the process of making changes. His first career was in design. He received his bachelor’s in visual art and design from Hampshire College in 1976. After some further study at Boston University in graphic design, he returned to Philadelphia. He was a magazine art director and he worked in design studios and advertising agencies, as well as doing freelance design work. In 1983 he started his own graphic design business, which he ran until 1992, when he sold it and changed industries.
Myers received his master’s in human resource development from Temple in 1992. After graduation he was offered a position with Right Management Consultants, a large outplacement firm, where he counseled people who were being laid off on how to get back on their feet and make a positive career transition. He subsequently worked for two of the company’s competitors before starting Career Potential in 2002.
Career Potential works both with individuals, on career development, career transition and job searches, as well as with companies that either need outplacement services for laid off employees, or are seeking advice on how to build better productivity and retention among high potential employees.
Myers transitioned from design into human resources because he always liked to help people with their careers. “Even when I was in the design business I was the one who was always going to the colleges and giving lectures to the kids about work in the field,” he says. “I was always the one giving away my time for free to look at young peoples’ portfolios and telling them how to fix their portfolios so they could get a better job. I was always the one telling them the reality of what it’s like to work in the design business versus what they thought it was going to be like.” Consequently, he found jobs for a lot of people.
Myers decided to put his career counseling expertise into book form for two reasons. “One is that all my clients were always saying, you’ve got to take all your knowledge and put it into a book.”
The second reason was that he foresaw the declining job market. “Because I work in this field and because I work with so many people in so many industries that are at high levels, I saw the writing on the wall,” he says. “I knew before most other people did that we were going to head into a very bad job market. I thought that the timing was right and that this information was going to be more critical than ever for all these people who needed this help.”
He adds: “My sense is that this recession is going to be much longer and deeper than anyone would like you to believe. And that the job market will never go back to anything resembling what it used to be.
Myers calls the recession “a complete game changer. It’s going to take a very different skill set and mindset. It’s going to require a whole different attitude. It’s going to require more flexibility and adaptability on the part of every employee. And it’s going to require that each individual take more responsibility for their own career success and stop relying on the employer to manage their career for them.”