The current labor market is robust, but it can be misleading. Professionals read that job creation has been outperforming expectations and unemployment is at a generational low. However, employment numbers do not always determine what happens to every type of worker. The reality candidates experience can be totally different.
When professionals interact with hiring managers they hear them say there aren’t enough qualified workers and they watch as open positions go unfilled. Many candidates, including undergrad and graduate degree holders, remain underemployed or struggle to find work. All of the positive news they hear about the general labor market feels much different to these professional job candidates who can’t secure gainful employment. If they only knew how.
While there are no guarantees when it comes to their employment, most candidates could certainly do more to help their cause. We often get caught up in the inquiry of job search and all-consuming, dependent flow of resumes which follows. Such busywork is akin to chasing after scarce resources that are no longer available. The frenzied trail of activities left behind are like footprints in the sand quickly washed away by the high tide. At times it becomes necessary to stand back and reassess your situation. The purpose of which is not to rest, but to review and reengage. One of the best ways to reevaluate is by understanding more fundamentals which can inform your search and direct future activities.
For a professional interested in starting a career, looking to find a job or who’s trying to better their employment situation a constructive way of doing this is to factor in the 80 percent. What, might you ask, is the 80 percent? Through research, I have identified key data points which reveal insights on the way to finding jobs and starting careers. The factors below, which in some way contribute to employment, all share the same 80 percent number. They improve your chances of employment by informing your search and positioning you in a rising tide. While the connection to the percentages might be coincidental, there’s nothing random about the results delivered by aligning your search and activities up with these insightful eighty percent. They are as follows:
80 percent of all jobs in America come from business careers. I ran across this key statistic, which is a foundation of job placement, in 25 Ways To Make College Pay Off. The eighty percent employment indicator comes courtesy of this book which was written by Bill Coplin. Dr. Coplin is a former college professor, and payoff advocate, who helped pioneer the importance of educating students for future careers. When writing about the movement from college to careers, Coplin says, “…faculty members tend to steer students away from business careers, even though these careers compose about 80 percent of all jobs in America.” According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Coplin’s eighty percent number continues to hold. In fact, the 80 percent payoff number might even be more relevant today. Given the rate of tuition inflation and rising student debt, there’s more urgency now to earn wages and start a career sooner. Knowing that eighty percent of all jobs come from business careers is useful information which allows you to make that happen.
If you hold a business degree you are likely on the path towards a business career. For non-business majors, it is important that you find a job which requires a college degree. However, fortunately for you, a degree does not make a career. There is ample room in business careers for all types of college majors. According to The Washington Post, “Only 27 percent of college grads find jobs that are closely related to their majors.” We all know plenty of humanity students working in business careers. The main takeaway for job seekers here is knowing that 80 percent of all jobs go down the path of business careers.
80 percent of jobs are not publicly advertised. Matt Youngquist, president of Career Horizons once told NPR, “At least 70 percent, if not 80 percent, of jobs are not published.” Other sources, including Quora, also confirm the 80% number. Updated information, published by LinkedIn, suggests the number of jobs available which are not advertised might even be closer to 85%. I recently wrote a book on career starts for college graduates called Careerismo. In the book I underscore this point by saying, “It’s important to resist the urge to connect with people through the traditional, advertised job market. Most college graduates your age do what everyone else does to find a job. They consume, and waste, time searching online in the traditional job market where hundreds of thousands of job postings and resumes are submitted each day.” Most of these positions are for a mere 20 percent of all jobs available. And, because they are advertised and easier to find, they attract the vast majority of job seekers. Fewer jobs combined with more competition is another way of chasing scarcity. Neither traditional help-wanted advertising, jobs posted on a company’s web or mobile sites, nor public job boards will lead you to 80 percent of job opportunities. Ignoring 80 percent of the total jobs available will either severely limit your options or cause you to be underemployed. Searching for the 80 percent of jobs that are not advertised requires a different mindset and approach, which I will try to cover in future posts. The process of searching for jobs this way is also covered in my book Careerismo.
80 percent of communication is nonverbal. Nonverbal communication happens when you have a “live” conversation with another person (a.k.a., a personal conversation.) Common knowledge and better judgment instructs us that twenty percent of communications, or words spoken, in these settings are verbal. The remainder, eighty percent, of what is communicated happens non verbally through body language, voice and intonation. While we all give lip service to this as being true, far too many of us take it for granted. And, even fewer of us actively practice it when finding a job.
Today, we have more ways than ever to communicate, but we don’t communicate in-person and the quality, or substance, of what we communicate is lacking. Mobile technologies and smart phones are amazing. However, most hiring managers I know will tell you that neither a connected device nor mobile app has ever hired a single person for a professional job. Jobs are for people, made by people. The web is an interface between people and hiring is a unique form of human activity. The web facilitates communication between people, but it does not replace a person-to-person exchange and need for conversation to make hiring decisions.
You want to be an effective communicator, not someone who misunderstands and misinterprets conversations. Get yourself face-to-face in a room with a hiring manager so you can benefit from one hundred percent of verbal and nonverbal communication. Then use all forms of communications, including those you grew up with, to lock down a rewarding job.
One of the best way for you to capitalize on a healthy labor market is to play these three 80 percent rules of employment. They help free the job search process so you can be much more efficient, constructive and effective. More progress allows you to become more confident and face less rejection.
Successful job candidates are not much different than all of the other applicants. By factoring in the same level of information and these insights, you will also know how to find gainful employment.