Employees should always be jobseekers

Looking for work when you already have a job... who could be bothered? During the topsy turvy years this little pig spent as an IT Recruiter one theme constantly stressed to contractors was that they should always be looking for work. It was surprising how few people paid attention.

An older wiser pig can understand the reasons why most people prefer to treat getting a job as an occasional burden. It's something they only deal with when they feel uncertain about their job security, their contract nears its conclusion or they just can't stand their current job any more.

Employed but looking

Job seeking is intensive and some people find it unpleasant. Looking for work is often stressful and as such it's a huge relief to get a job. So it's natural to achieve your goal and then want to relax. Why not focus your energy on your new role and stop looking? The pig says these are reasonable excuses, but they aren't compelling arguments.

A job is leasing your services to an employer

Everyone in the employment marketplace is effectively a trader. They are trading their skills, experience, time and energy for reward, benefits and opportunity. This is true regardless of employment status, skill level or preference. Everyone is trying to maximise the return they get from working. And if they aren't doing this then the pig refers you to Clubber Lang in

Rocky 3.... I Pity the Fool. However the Job Seeking Pig is here to inform, not to offend! The very fact you're reading this post suggests you're interested to get the most from your employment opportunities. So lets break down this concept: Your work is a commodity.You take all your experience, skills and attributes and compete with other workers for opportunities. You lease your skills and energy to an employer in return for reward.

Don't Work Forever

You only have a limited amount of this commodity to sell. You will not work forever. You have roughly 250-260 working days per year, less holidays. Want to know how many working days are left in this year? http://www.working-days-left.com/ You should be ensuring you get the best return from selling this commodity. Whether you define return in terms of money or benefits, enjoyment, further opportunities, career advancement, intellectual stimulation, etc The simple fact is that employers treat workers like a commodity. They invest in training and team building exercises to increase productivity. They invest in benefits to increase staff retention. These actions are aimed at increasing profit.

Earn the most Money for your work

You, as an employee, should understand the rules of the game. Even better - use them to your advantage. How?

1) Understand the market. Understanding the market is key. What are you worth... which of your skills are in demand, what are becoming more popular, what do recruiters think you can earn in the current market? Who is employing, who is not. You'll feel much more confident negotiating pay rates if you understand what the market is offering. This does not just help you find new roles, it also helps you evaluate your current position. Perhaps you're lucky, salaries have fallen and you should be doing everything you can to keep your job. This information is fairly important to know, don't you think?

2) Always look for opportunities Are you in the perfect role? Will it last forever? If you can't answer yes to both those questions then you should be thinking about how your next role should be an improvement. And what that improvement should look like. Is it paying more money? Is it a promotion? Will it be closer to home? Will it involve international travel? Will it be exposing you to new technologies or industries? Whatever you want to achieve, the first step is to quantify it. How else would you recognise it? Then go looking for it.

Your perfect opportunity won't just find you, you need to take action! Let's take a very simple example. James is working in IT and wants to get into Financial Services. He applies for every role he can find but never gets an interview. He mentions his aim at a dinner party and is introduced to Martin. Martin moved into FSI recently by focusing on certain niche skills that were in demand due to PCI Security Standards. With this advice James was able to redo his CV and got a the role that he wanted in a multinational bank.

3) Give yourself options The Job Seeking Piggy loves choice. Call me a greedy pig (I take it as a compliment!) but there is nothing better than having the power of choice, especially when it comes to selecting a role. But there is more to this. The Global Financial Crisis highlights how insecure many jobs actually are and how crucial it is to always have an understanding of the employment market, of what roles are out there and what you're worth. The pig saw alot of people get made redundant these last few years and it was the ones who were disconnected from jobseeking that suffered the worst.

Free Job Seeking Advice

Remember: Looking for roles is a skill. It takes practice. If you haven't used these skills in a while it takes some time to get back up to speed. And if you're unlucky enough to find a sudden end to your employment it's likely you'll feel pressure to find work quickly. You can reduce the risk by keeping an eye on the market.

Summary: Job Seeking Piggy is not suggesting that looking for work when you're already employed has to be a huge undertaking. It's more of a mindset than a physical commitment. Maybe its an hour a week to search an internet jobsite, enquire about a couple of roles and talk to a recruiter? Possibly even attending an interview every now and then.

Certainly its being mindful that you won't be in your current role forever and keeping eyes and ears open to opportunities.