We all love technology and appreciate the impact it has on our everyday lives. With texting on the go, mobile social media apps, the prolific use of iPads in retail stores and restaurants, and high-speed Internet from 30,000 feet above ground, communicating with the world has never been easier. And since 92% of the population uses cell phones, it’s clear that we have readily embraced our ever-advancing technological world and the conveniences it offers.
However, as a recruiting professional with the responsibility of identifying impact performers for growth companies at all levels, I can testify that we have not embraced the technology world from an employment perspective. And, for the record, it doesn’t count if you’ve completed a basic course on Microsoft Office in high school. I’m referring to those few that have taken a step back and considered how technology has affected the growth or, in some cases, demise of their desired fields, and adapted their skills accordingly. Evidence shows that most of us have failed to see how technology has changed the needs of our job market. Just ask the experts – employers in all industries and company sizes say the same thing: they can’t find people with the proper, updated talent to fill the gaps in their respective organization.
Ladies and gentleman, “The Terminator” – that famous, destructive half-man half-machine – is back, and he’s kicking the perpetually diminishing rears that make up America’s Middle Class. If it’s not enough to take my word from it, just look at the numbers. The Middle Class is making less money that it did in 1989 due to a lack of technological skills. And what’s worse? No one is fighting back for their livelihood. No one is trying to figure out how to outsmart the omnipotent force of technology, which has managed to replace many blue-collar positions with machines and has made survival in the workforce dependent on one’s ability to keep up with it.
My first piece of advice: stop using the traditional, outdated method of choosing your career path and embarking on a job search. Higher education is still reinforcing mainstream occupations, a major in the classics, and a highly-structured environment that leaves young people drowning in the real world without any relevant skills to support themselves. Chances are, your family and friends don’t have a vast understanding of the new positions that are created everyday either. It’s no wonder people resort to another six months of unemployment rather than face the big bad wolf of today’s job market. It’s tough out there, and, quite frankly, incredibly daunting.
Without anyone else to rely on for career support, what are you supposed to do? Lean on yourself for professional guidance by doing the research, and learn to be receptive to new career directions. There are over 100 different types of information technology jobs alone with titles a majority of the population has never heard of before, but it’s not just high-tech fields that are booming today. There are countless opportunities out there – you simply need to be flexible in your approach. So get out of your comfort zone and be smart about your job search. That means, don’t pick an occupation that a robot can do, and embrace the Terminator head-on. By embracing it, I’m not talking about learning how to download Netflix on your iPad, I mean advancing your technological knowledge as it relates to your dream job.
As the Terminator himself says, “I’ll be back.” The question is where you will you be in your job search when he does.
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