3.0   Awareness: you need to know who's hiring!

Everyday, things are happening in the economy and the world around you, things that might impact your career plans and your job aspirations.

Events across the street, across the country or across the world might impact your employment situation or the demand for your skills. At any given time there are job categories that are declining and others that are disappearing altogether.  Economic disruptions, technology developments, political instability can all cause shifts that impact demand for labor.

Your best insurance policy against unemployment is to keep yourself well informed. Knowing when to make a move is essential to your success ... not just today, or tomorrow, but for the rest of your career life. If you are a serious job seeker, your job is to know what industries are growing and what organizations are likely to be hiring.

And once you get a job you will want to be aware of things that can disrupt your employment before it becomes a crisis. When things change, the first ones to move are the lucky ones. It is like being on the Titanic when a company or industry is going down. If you are not one of the first ones off and into a lifeboat, you are going to be sucked down with everyone else. This isn't brain surgery.

Every day in the news, there are reports about social, political, economic, and technological changes that will impact the labor market and alter the range of occupational choices. Often times, things will change in what seems like a heart beat. Other trends are slow moving and long lasting.

The outsourcing of jobs is a long term trend that has caused a significant decline in certain manufacturing jobs here in the US. The run up in health care costs over the past twenty years is also a long term trend.

In contrast, the 2007 melt down in the mortgage lending industry happened almost over night, and it created layoffs in areas as diverse as financial services and housing construction. The resulting shock to the stock market, the impact on interest rates and the tightening of credit sent ripples throughout the entire economy. In 2008, it became clear that it wasn't just a ripple, it was a recession. By early 2009, it became clear that the economy had gone into crisis mode.  The resulting recession lasted for several years and continues to be felt in many industries.

Earlier, I mentioned “the butterfly effect.” It’s the idea that the flapping of a butterfly’s wings will change the atmosphere ever so slightly, and that this seemingly insignificant change could ultimately result in a tornado blowing across some other part of the world. That is what you are looking for as you maintain awareness.

There are a lot of stories in the news reflecting ordinary and routine events. But many events that hardly seem newsworthy at all have implications that go far beyond what might immediately seem apparent. Think of it like dropping a pebble into a pond. One small stone can send ripples to the pond's farthest edges.