Many college students are planning for a future in a specific field. Schools teach the basics of the field, but rarely instill the current work environment. The method behind this is that every field changes constantly and universities cannot change a program simply because of a paradigm shift in the current work force. Working professionals find this to be a problem when they either a) choose to, or b) are forced to seek new employment. This can saturate the field in several ways:
- More candidates then available jobs
- More jobs than qualified candidates
- Overly strict qualifications
- Strict reliance on filtering software
These conditions are not the only ones that can create a saturated job market, but they are the most likely scenarios. So, what can you do when your field is oversaturated with talent?
In order to avoid these scenarios, it is critical for the job seeker to understand that it is not a byproduct of their experience or education, but how businesses manage the bottom line.
In the case of IT, Medical, HR, or another specialized field, companies are looking for top talent for the lowest cost. The goal of the job seeker is to rise to the top of the pile.
Recruiting firms and job boards can help in a transition between jobs or careers, but they are more for the employer then the candidate. One solution is to tailor the resume to the exact specifications that the company is looking for. This is never a good strategy because it places the interviewer on the defensive and makes them feel manipulated. It is best to be honest and direct with employers because they will find out in the end if the candidate has been honest during the interview process.
1. Research the field, industry, and company
Each field is unique and has different needs. It is important to find a subsection of the field that is of interest and focus on that area. The main thing to take away here is specialization to a degree. Companies have unique requirements for each job and it is necessary that the candidate has the interest, skill, and ability to handle the field. Because of this, the candidate must know what the employer is looking for and how best to demonstrate the skills necessary for the employer to select them for the interview process.
2. Work on side projects
Side projects are a great way to establish the working knowledge of an industry. They can also provide invaluable research and understanding of the field that normally is not available. This may include finding a mentor, participating in informational interviews, blogging, becoming involved in discussions, or building a project during your free time. Since each industry is different, there are many different ways to handle it. Find a path that others are doing within the field and work with them to improve your own skill set.
3. Do volunteer work within the industry
Volunteer work is not for every industry or field. In some cases, there isn’t an avenue that volunteer work is available. Yet, volunteer work is not only about going to an impoverished country and helping the people to develop. It also includes working at job fairs, universities, internships and other unpaid work that is within the industry or field. Many candidates overlook the power of volunteering time to the benefit of someone else. Employers view this as a positive aspect that is highly desirable will give it credit during the interview process.
4. Become an expert in the field
Expert status is not having 15-20 years in a field or obtaining a PhD. Although experience and education help prove your expertise, they aren’t the only way to become an expert. In order to become an expert, the job seeker must be recognized by his peers as someone who knows the field or industry to a high degree. One hallmark of an expert is to be confident but humble about one’s knowledge. Having extensive work history, blog articles, a project portfolio, or another means is critical for an employer to consider you.
Job markets can become saturated in a few short years, which can cause potential job candidates to have a problem searching for work. By focusing on an area of specialty within the larger industry, candidates can demonstrate the ability to learn the field outside of the work force or education. Many potential job candidates are becoming overly generalized, which is a detractor for many industries but by focusing on one or two areas of expertise a candidate can distance himself from the saturated job seekers and obtain the interview that might not normally present itself.
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