Economists forecast that by next year, the unemployment rate in America will be well over 10% while the rate of under-employment (people working part-time or not looking for work because they’re discouraged) will be substantially higher. It’s a hard time to get a job, the toughest in our lifetime.
In ministry as in business, many employers have stopped hiring, waiting for the economy to turn around and business to pick up. So, if you’re a young person looking for a job, what do you do?
As the father of four 20-somethings, I feel your pain. My advice is simple:
1. Take the pressure off yourself. Your 20’s is a time for experimenting and discovery. You don’t have to achieve anything. The best thing you can do is understand who you are – your strengths/weaknesses and interests and learn to manage yourself. But that is a process, not a destination. Commit to the process.
2. Become a life-long learner. Who said learning stops when your graduate? Whatever degree you earned should not define you. If you commit to a continual growth process, you’re better off than 90% of your peers. Develop a growth plan for the year and use that to make a TO DO list every week and then every day. Read some books. Research web pages. Network in your area of interest. Ask a mentor to hold you accountable and discuss what you’re learning. Write a blog about it.
: In that regard, determine to become excellent at soliciting and receiving feedback. We need the perspectives
of others. Learn to ask, “What is it you see in me that needs to be
developed?” and “Where do you think I should focus my energies if I am
to realize my potential?” Then, take notes. Show that you value the
feedback. And follow-up afterward, telling the person you asked what you did to implement their advice.
4. Learn to manage yourself.
Determine to work harder than your peers and you will stand out to an
employer. The number one thing I look for in a new hire is initiative (#2 is a positive attitude). Show an employer that and, even in a terrible market, you can get a job. If you know where your strengths are and focus on adding value there, you’ll distinguish yourself. If you haven’t read Covey’s 7 Habits
, get it and read it cover-to-cover.
Even in a depressed economy, Businessweek reports that there are three million jobs that need to be filled. At AIM, for example, we continue to grow and the only way we can do that is to hire quality people, people who aren’t just looking for a job, but are seeking to walk out their call alongside a dedicated and committed team.