You know that and I know that. So, how do you convince a company to hire you? Or, if you are a manager, how do you get your company to agree that you need another person, or build out a team?
The answer is by shifting the balance of power to you, not the company. Company management has to believe that by not hiring a person, or not building out a team, they are losing out on an opportunity.
So, how do you change the balance of power where “not hiring you” is a lost opportunity for the company?
I have two answers.
- Be the best at a skill that is in high demand.
- Deliver customers.
Seems obvious but, let me tell you why in practical terms.
First, a skill in high demand.
The top answer right now is STEM — jobs that rely on backgrounds in science, technology, engineering and math.
There is a simply a shortage of people with skills in tech. In fact, unemployment in tech is at 3.6% in the U.S. versus 6.6% for the economy. The tech sector is so hot; it is about at full employment.
If you are highly skilled as a STEM worker, you – not an employer – are in the power position. It has been reported that The National Science Foundation projects STEM-based employment will increase 1.6 percent annually through the end of the decade, compared to 1 percent for overall employment. Hot jobs include computer programmer, database manager, market research analyst, financial analyst, web developer, and logistician as examples.
Healthcare requires workers with STEM background and is a hot growth field. Between 2012 and 2022, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, healthcare employment is projected to increase 10.8 percent, or 15.6 million. Some top jobs are physical therapist, physician’s assistant, and nurse practitioner.
All of these jobs require strong STEM skills. In fact, even jobs that we think of as traditionally creative, or “right brained” today require left brain thinking. For example, a writer for the web needs to know how to optimize a URL, understand Google Analytics and more to optimize “eyeballs.”
I must say in a digital world, it is hard to succeed without some strength in STEM.
Second, deliver customers.
This may sound obvious. But we are in one of the toughest environments ever for companies to drive sales. Here is why.
The fuel for consumer spending is employment. Without jobs, obviously consumers do not have spending money.
Here is a little more insight. Our most recent hiring survey shows that executives “intending to increase hiring” rose from a low of 19% in October 2012 to 34% in February 2014; almost an 80% increase. Yet, while executives want to hire, they won’t without solid visibility into top-line revenue increases driven by consumer spending.
In fact, executives we polled have said that the Number 1 macro-economic factor that would be a catalyst to increase U.S. hiring is “increasing consumer demand worldwide.”
Without full employment, consumers simply do not have disposable income. It creates a hiring Catch-22. I feel like I just explained a vicious circle.
More insight into the employment numbers shows that people out of work, or marginally attached workers and part-time workers account for 12.7% of the U.S, population. It adds up to 40 million people in the US who are either not employed, or checked out of the employment economy.
In addition, as companies seek sales worldwide they are up against some economies that have been devastated with unemployment like Spain at 26% and Greece at 27.8%. Conversely, India’s unemployment rate is at 3.3% and Singapore at 1.8%.
So, to find sales growth, companies must be surgically strategic and pick their spots. There are some markets that are hot, but overall consumer spending on a global basis is simply not robust.
If you know how to drive sales, and increase sales demand – you are in demand in this environment.
So, now you know the score. Now, what do you do to be in demand?
I have said it before, but the answer is learning.
The one thing I have learned is that critical to everyone’s success is to never stop learning – learn about anything and everything from anyone. Don’t limit learning – you can learn at home, work or play.
If you continually learn, you will increase your worth. If you learn how to drive sales to new markets – if you can drive sales in a specific channel, companies will want you.
In fact, if you interview and a company learns from you – you are in the position of power.
We have found that the people in total control – the top executives have “learning agility.” Learning agility is the willingness and ability to learn from experience and then apply those lessons to succeed in new situations. Learning agility is the leading predictor of success – No. 1 above intelligence and education.
So, find your way to take control. Learning is the key to power. And, if you gain the power seat and deliver results, there are two winners in the end, you and your company.