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Progress Can Hurt!

I am often contacted by people who are looking for work, and it can be a very humbling insight into lives that have been disrupted by "progress". Their skills have become less "in demand", they have somehow become out of step with the latest and greatest, yet they are people with good experience and good skills. Often all they need is a break and someone to believe in them, yet that is not always an easy thing to find.

In the past I have been contacted by people at all levels, and clearly some of them are handicapped with an edge that leaps off the "email page". How do you say to someone, "Well ... maybe people just don't like you!" ... I'm not sure employment law would let me get away with that! However, it's a huge issue for some people and employment is hard to find if you project an image that is "edgy". I wouldn't hire someone like that!

Today's email was from an IT professional in Western Canada, frustrated that he cannot find gainful employment in a market that is as hot as any in Canada. One of my employees recently made the statement that "if you have a heartbeat, you can get a job" in Western Canada right now. Clearly there is more to it than that, so what should a person do in this situation?

There are no guarantees in life, but I do believe that we all hold our destiny in our own hands, so it's important to take full responsibility for ourselves. Take a methodical step by step approach to finding work that will examine our skills, our weaknesses, our desires and match the outcome with potential opportunities. It's really a sales exercise.

You need to create a selling document for yourself, that can be customized for each individual selling situation (I never said this would be easy). You need to identify potential; target "clients" and understand what is important to them. You need to be able to tailor your skills to meet their demands ... easy to write, not so easy to do. Often people take time out to reflect on life, their chosen occupation, the potential for other occupations and to maybe choose a different career path. I think the most important thing is to treat the job search like a job, to believe in yourself and to convey that sense to others who might value your skills.

I have never met the person who wrote to me this week but I was immediately struck by their ability to articulate their situation in clear English, a rarity these days! They have many years of technology experience in an older technology and the ability to communicate. Surely there is a good place for someone like this in a market like Western Canada! I have asked my General Manager to help, so we'll see how it works out.