3 skills you need to survive the evolving job market

Today’s job market is as competitive and brutal as its ever been. Its motto is “leaner and meaner”.  Many degrees are now obsolete and companies are cutting back on staff.  And churches aren’t immune to this problem either.  I already shared a bit about this problem here.  But the real problem for many is not that they can’t find a job, its that they can’t find a job in the area that they are looking in.  But the reality is that there is always a job available somewhere.  It’s a matter whether or not we are willing to compete for what’s available.

Having worked in corporate for many years with some big companies (Microsoft) and having parents who own their own (in IT), I’d like to share some common skills I believe that will help to get a job in any profession.

  1. Business sense – You need a bit of business sense to survive.  A job opening can only be created where there is a lack of supply for it.  If there’s a huge supply, then obviously there will be no demand.  A bit of research goes long ways to find out why certain careers have huge supply or huge demand.  While it’s important to work in a “fulfilling ” career (however you define that), it has to also be factored into what the market can offer.  If you want to become a teacher, then you have to be willing to teach where there are positions available.  This might mean teaching in another country, or teaching in a capacity that’s not traditionally normal (e.g. online learning).  Similarly, the salary expectations must be reasonable to what the market can dictate.  A quick tour on payscale.ca will show you what to expect.  And if you’re looking for 3-digit wages, be expected to work REALLY hard – lots of overtime unless your degree can back up the wage (graduated from Harvard as a Doctor, Lawyer, Scientist)
  2. People skills – Companies care now much less about an impressive resume than an impressive personality.  A person that shows initiative, drive, ambition, and a positive attitude is much more likely to land a job than a person who shows greater technical prowess but a lack of relational skills with others.  That reason itself shows why its important to stay in community with others (church anybody?) and not isolate yourself.
  3. Humility – Take a deep breath and consider these facts.  You are not the center of the world.  You are easily replaceable.  A company doesn’t owe you anything.  Believe it or not, I’ve found more Christians who feel a sense of entitlement than even non-Christians.  Perhaps it comes from the pride of being saved eternally, or that “Christian” badge that we wear and display to our friends, who knows.  Either way this must stop.  The best attitude is that of a servant.  A person who believes that anyone, even someone they don’t like, can teach them something.  A servant wants to serve and put others needs before their own.  Every big company regardless of moral compass wants a servant.  Pushing this further, this means you’ll have to be willing to work more for less, take a lower salary, maybe even working minimum wage (or free?) in order to get that foot in the door.

Did you know Jesus even talked about how to be business smart?  In Luke 16, Jesus shared a parable about a bank manager who was being fired.  During his 2 weeks notice, he dishonestly lowered the debts of people who owed the bank.  Not only would it garner new friendships after he was fired, but if you look carefully the bank was already charging illegal amounts which would be difficult to take the manager to court for after he was fired!  So then, while being morally dishonest, he was clever or “shrewd” in taking care of himself.

Christians can be business smart too without needing to compromise their faith.  Are you willing to keep up with the curve?  Or are you going to be complacent and be swept away by the tides of change?

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