By Rabbi Mordechai Kruger
The first question that anyone starting a job search these days asks is, “Why bother?” Anyone who can open a newspaper or a browser sees the headlines every day, and they aren’t encouraging. We are in a “jobless recovery,” where the employment news is supposedly worse than the headlines say! What is the point of looking for a job that doesn’t exist?
The truth, of course, is that the headlines, while they are true, are not describing the entire situation. It is always important to remember that good news doesn’t get much attention. Even the good part of the bad news doesn’t get much attention.
Let’s take one popular statistic, the unemployment rate. It measures the percentage of people in the workforce that say they are looking for jobs but can’t find them. There’s no question that whatever this number, currently around 8% nationally, means, it’s too high. (If you are motivated to learn what it really means, or just enjoy seeing your tax dollars at work, go to the Bureau of Labor Statistics website, bls.gov.) And there certainly are people you might meet in the grocery store or at shul that are having a really hard time finding work. But if you look carefully, you’ll learn that even with all the unemployment, around 4 million Americans hear the magic words “You’re hired!” each month. You will also learn that there are many jobs that go unfilled month after month. So there are jobs out there. Living in the Greater New York area also helps, as job growth has been stronger here than in other parts of the U.S. The demographic group most likely to be reading this column also finds employment at a rate above the national average.
So there are jobs out there, and people with the right background and training will be hired to fill them. The problem is that in many fields the supply of people is larger than the supply of jobs. So how do you compete and get picked out of the crowd?
Job-search expert Richard Bolles said years ago, “It’s not the most qualified person who gets the job. It’s the one who knows how to get hired.” There are skills and methods that greatly increase a qualified candidate’s chances of getting hired. They can be taught, and they can be used by anyone, no matter what job they are looking for. This column will be discussing the best ways to succeed in the world of work, starting with the job search. Stay tuned. v
Rabbi Mordechai Kruger is the founder and director of Pathways to Parnassa, an organization providing job search and career coaching to our community. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.