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Job Search Advice Worth Following


The data is overwhelming. The headlines are soul crushing. “We are into the worst recession since World War II.” “The economic impact of the Pandemic is ten times worse than the 2008 financial crisis.” “1.6 billion people risk losing their jobs due to the Pandemic.” These are workers in the so-called informal economy involving largely migrant workers, those in agriculture, the gig segment or the service industry. “The 14% fall in working hours is equivalent to 400 million full time jobs.”

What to do when you are looking for a job.
The Austrian National Library on Unsplash

One of the living pains of the Pandemic that cries aloud to be eased. For those who have not been inflicted health-wise. Nor who have lost a loved one; as Biden like to say, facing an empty chair by the dining table. But to those who have lost their means of sustenance, and an important source of self-worth, and meaning in life, the hope of getting back together with minimal damage is worth exploring.

The Pandemic is but one of the disruptive duo. The other, triggered by the march of progress is the extreme automation of work that marks the era of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (IR 4.0). The World Economic Forum (WEF) reported that, as a result of massive digitization technologies, 85 million jobs will be replaced or obsoleted. The destruction of these jobs are expected to be completed by 2025.

I know you know the good news. This scheme driven by robotization and the Internet of Things (IoT) has the promise of creating 97 million jobs. There is a promise of joy in the big picture. But, zooming in to the individual, the jobs taken and the jobs created are not aligned for a one for one exchange.

This is a quote from the WEF “The Future of Jobs” report:

"This year we find that while technology-driven job creation is still expected to outpace job destruction over the next five years, the economic contraction is reducing the rate of growth in the jobs of tomorrow. There is a renewed urgency to take proactive measures to ease the transition of workers into more sustainable job opportunities.”

"As the frontier between the work tasks performed by humans and those performed by machines and algorithms shifts, we have a short window of opportunity to ensure that these transformations lead to a new age of good work, good jobs and improved quality of life for all. In the midst of the pandemic recession, this window is closing fast."

The new order of jobs requires skills you may not have. if the company wants to keep you, you will have to be reskilled. A whopping 94 % of the businesses surveyed by the WEF require their employees to pick up new skills. Your basic skill set may have to be upgraded to support the new industrial revolution. The upskilling program is expected to take three to six months and the reskilling may take from 6 months to a year.

There is a growing call for companies to partner public institutions for better efficacy in the skills turnaround to save massive displacement of workers. Amazon has taken the lead to announce a program that will reskill 29 million workers for cloud computing roles, the critical support for the Artificial Intelligence (AI) and the data economy.

The report continues, “Jumping from a redundant job to one in high demand is no easy challenge. The "jobs of tomorrow" will require new skills; in fact, the vast majority of employers (94%) surveyed by the WEF said that they expected employees to pick up new skills on the job.

” In the “Future of Jobs” report, the jobs of the future will require skills with more brain power and stronger emotional resilience than physical abilities. Critical thinking and analysis, and problem-solving skills are the most valued by the business leaders surveyed. The standout soft skills are self-management and working with people. These are not new skills but they have leaped in the order of priorities. Technology use and development and core literacies are not less important and have remained in the top eight skills required. They are probably the entry level skills in the big data driven world with the four precedent skills enabling sustained performance. The notable is that brute strength had declined in value the most but is not unimportant.


Shifting Skills Priorities for IR 4.0
Source: WEF

Routine data entry, numbers crunching and information dispensing jobs will slide in demand and some shrink to phase out. Others will still exist but step down in demand and, thus, value. Not surprising to see HR specialists and TD (Training and Development) specialists in the Top 20 decline list as with assembly and factory workers in the top five declines. This is to be imagined with robots and automation taking over the mass production and routine service jobs.

Inspecting Computer Servers
Museum Victoria on Unsplash

The Top 10 increasing in demand jobs cluster around the support for the AI and data driven economy. Sandwiched at the number 6 spot is “Business Development Professionals,” to support the monetization of new products and technologies? Besides technology, the in-demand professions cater for enabling organizational effectiveness and efficiency, and the expected pull for risk and information security management. An interesting note is that the need for construction laborers will decline. Is it with less construction from space efficiency or are they being replaced by robots, new construction technologies and 3D printing? This decline is symbolic of the shrinking value of “physical abilities” in the skills requirement.

No 12 to 16 in the jobs decline list is tell-tale sign for greater push for online transactions. Will Relationship Managers be subbed with avatars and digital twins?

The good thing about the job invasion by the IR 4.0 juggernaut is that there is still some distance to the final displacement. 2025. That with the drive for reskilling and upskilling initiatives allow you space to get ready. The real question is, “What are you going to do with the information you have?” Are you going to get ready for the inevitable.?

Are you going to conduct a gap analysis of your skill inventory? Are you previewing the work environment based on the information available and prime your mind-body for the challenges, as an example asking, “Why is stress management important in the new workplace?” Are you doing the SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) study? Are you preempting the interviews and crystalizing your USP (Unique Selling Proposition)? What’s your elevator pitch of your value to the new organization? “What’s the best approach in positioning your act?” “Why is self-management a key skill in the future?” “Critical thinking, analysis and complex problem solving; how will these skills play out in the new job requirement?” “Where are the [free] courses available?” “If I do not like technical work, is there a place for me?” “Besides going for the jobs, are there business opportunities, from the information available?” “What are my Plan Bs?”

The WEF report also reveals the revered skills of tomorrow:

“In 2025, analytical thinking, creativity, and flexibility will be among the most sought-after skills. Employers see critical thinking, analysis, and problem solving as growing in importance in the coming years, although these have consistently been cited in previous editions of the survey. Newly emerging this year are skills in self-management, such as active learning, resilience, stress tolerance, and flexibility. The data available through metrics partnerships with LinkedIn and Coursera allowed us to track with unprecedented granularity the types of specialized skills needed for the jobs of tomorrow.”

Self-management, active learning, resilience, stress tolerance, and flexibility. These should get you interested in the challenges of the work and the workplace of tomorrow.

Advancing and Decling Jobs in IR 4.0
Source: WEF
Thud! Let’s get back to now. What if the Pandemic just killed your job? The most important thing is to realize that your situation is not the result of poor performance, bad character or irresponsible behavior. If anything, it has nothing to do with your capability, but rather it is caused by a natural disaster. The challenge now is to protect your physical and mental health. Don’t shrink, but as I wrote, the way forward is to keep finding [for an opportunity], keep sharpening the saw [get the new skills and acquire better emotional intelligence] and keep asking [for help and for opportunities to help.]

There are some good pivot stories. Many people are turning to home based businesses such as provision and food catering. Others hopped on their bikes to make deliveries. There is even a story of a displaced pilot doing well with a food stall, serving garbed fully in his pilot standard issue. Not only that, it seems that airlines are into the food serving business. It is a common sight now with people selling windshield wipers and jeans from the boot of their cars; peddling even mangoes and local fruits. I read that Philip Knight, the founder of the iconic Nike brand of things started this way. NHK, the Japanese TV channel highlights success stories of people turning to farming.

What are you going to do? It is an important question to challenge your mental faculty to work. If you have not found a paying opportunity, offer to work for free or even just for food and lodging. There are community opportunities such tutoring students or teaching in free pre-school classes. The important thing is to go out during your ‘normal’ work hours to work, finding opportunities to know new people, form new associations and let the world know you exist and that you are looking for opportunities.

Get a small support group going. Share finds and news. Motivate each other. Give and get advice. No one can monopolize thinking. Pick others’ brains. A small idea may get you going in a big way. Or it may lead to other ideas. The important thing is to get involved in others and get others involved in you. Keep thinking and keep searching for ideas and ways to help you think. Think for yourself and think for others. Except for time immersed in meditation, an idle [conscious] mind is the devil’s workshop.

Align with my advice to get advice from others, I present some good ideas I have picked from the web to anchor you in this period saving you from getting lost in transition.

Self Employed: Barber
Leigh Cooper on Unsplash

These are ideas from Penelope Trunk:

“Start a blog about the industry you want to get into. Blogging is a great way to keep up in your industry, network without looking desperate, and leverage the fact that you have more time on your hands that people who have jobs. Everyone who is unemployed should be blogging as a way to get the next job. Put your ideas out into the world and connect with people that way. This is why you want to be hired, right? For your ideas. So show them. The reason that people who blog have great careers is that bloggers are always thinking about issues in their industry. Show that side of yourself to people. Blogging takes a lot of time, sure. But you have a lot of time…”

I like this idea. As you are evolving into a thought leader for your industry, your research will also get you ready for any questions from the interviews. This is also an opportunity to show potential employers deep knowledge of the field. It is a platform to sell yourself.

“Practice talking about yourself with everyone. High performers practice for interviews. So now you know what you’re aiming for, but you need to talk about it with everyone-parties, at the gym, on the phone with friends. When they ask how you’re doing, talk about what you’re doing like you are in the job interview. And the good news is that the better you get at talking like that, the more you will actually believe your story, the story that being unemployed is lucky because you have learning opportunities.”

This is as good as anything your doctor prescribed.

Financial Wolves writes about a series of avoids.

Wiki How has some sensible advice.

Help Guide has written an extensive piece on how to deal job loss and unemployment stress.

This Wall Street Journal article teaches you what to do if you can’t find a job.

Bank Rate dispenses with 7 tips for finding a new job during the coronavirus pandemic.

The Edge Markets teaches you financial planning when you lose your job or have to take pay cut.

The Hundred Top 100 is a comprehensive compilation of jobs and employment information, interview strategy and questions, courses and courses providers, universities and colleges, top companies and hirers and anything to help you find a job.

The truth? Nobody has a silver bullet. The worst prognosis? The employment situation is going to get much worse in 2021. But lives will be saved with the aggressive vaccine roll out. That must be good.

Employment in Japan
narubono on Unsplash

The idea is to get prepared while in transition. Step up to help and to ask for help. I recognize different people are experiencing hardship in varying degrees. Think how to create your own employment for the time being. In different ways, we are all in this together. Our common desire is to get out of this quickest. In good shape. In a good way. Ready to make a difference. In the new world. Reflecting on lessons learned. Better prepared. For any new challenge.

I wish for your safety and health. If you like this post, please share it with your friends. It took me a lot of pounding on the keyboard to piece this information, it will only take you a few clicks to extend its reach. Thank you.


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