Recovery Is Coming. Are You Ready?

In an article Saturday in Slate magazine, Daniel Gross makes a case for a job recovery sooner than later.  Using productivity as a key economic indicator, Gross writes, “we’ve just witnessed the fastest two-quarter productivity surge since the first year of the Kennedy administration. . . but just as hamsters can run only so fast on their treadmills, there are limits to productivity growth.”

Gross goes on to relate a footnote by Michael Darda, Chief economist at MKM Partners, who says, “Should the economy expand in the fourth quarter at the same 2.5 percent annual rate it did in the third quarter—as it shows every sign of doing—companies won’t have any choice but to hire.”

It’s an interesting argument.  I’m not sure I agree with Mr. Gross on how fast this economy is recovering (or Mr. Darda either, for that matter).  Most other economists are telling us that it’s going to be Q3 or Q4 of 2010 before we start to see any real job growth in this country.  But what is Gross and Darda are correct?  Are you ready to get hired when things start picking up again?  If not, here are 3 things you can do to prepare yourself:

1)    Get clear about what you have to offer.  You don’t have to be stuck doing something you don’t love doing, even if you are good at it.  In order to effectively promote yourself, you will need to show quantified results you have had in your past on things you are both capable of and willing to do in the future.  You should have 3 – 4 clear key areas in which you shine.  Then you should have 4-5 clear statements that prove you can do these things.

2)    Get focused on EXACTLY what you are looking for. If you don’t know what you want how can anyone else help you find it?  Focus your career objective to one (two at the most) position.  Then use your clearly articulated statements from #1 above to help brand yourself as an expert in that area.

3)    Get connected.  You have no doubt heard the statistics on networking and finding a practical  job.  More than 60% of job seekers find their next opportunity through someone they know.  To be effective at networking you need to offer value to the people in your network.  Don’t just try to sell yourself.  Identify needs of the people with whom you are networking and try to help them.  That way they will both remember you and want to reciprocate with you by finding opportunity for you.

Sooner or later this economy will turn around.  The question is, will YOU be ready to take advantage of opportunities when they come along?