Jobs and career bloggers (and I count myself among the "guilty") tend to be heavy on the advice. You've heard it all before:
No job is 100% safe. Some industries are more recession-proof than others, but this recession has cut swathes through public and private sectors alike. From the boardroom to the factory floor, from offices to showrooms, none of us know when or where the axe is next going to fall. News reports telling us about green shoots of recovery or initiatives to ease youth and graduate unemployment don't mean much when we're facing forced pay cuts or lay-offs.
Not only can job applicants research potential companies on the internet, but people making the hiring decisions can - and do - research the applicants. A name search on Google will bring up an instant wealth of information - whether comments on a forum, a facebook page or team sporting results.
From the 14-year-old budding games developer operating out of his bedroom to monolithic public institutions, "cheap" clients who want a top-class service at rock-bottom rates aren't good news for a freelancer. On the one hand, you don't want to turn down work in a difficult economy - particularly if you've only just started your business and want to build up a portfolio of projects and network of clients. On the other, you probably can't afford to work for clients who are only driven by cost.
During the last recession, two things happened to me - one banal and one life-changing. The banal was that I lost my job. It wasn't a great job - the pay was low and the career prospects slim to none - but it led me to my life-changing realisation: I was fed up earning a pittance in a cold, damp city and I wanted to get out and see the world. If I'd been more clued-up then, I might have thought about how a gap on my CV was going to look to a future employer. But in my innocence I thought that everyone would consider it the positive, life-changing experience that it undoubtedly was. Fortunately, I never worked for an employer who disagreed, but if you have gaps in your work history, here are four things to consider.
A friend of mine has been freelancing and building up his network of contacts. He's been particularly successful in the last year or so, succeeding in carving himself out a good niche locally. When one of his freelance clients (a franchise) offered him a full-time job with a year's contract, he leapt at it.
There was some predictable criticism about Seth Godin's post yesterday on the What Would Dad Say
blog. Most of the criticism rightly points out that not everybody is suited to being an entrepreneur
. But I don't think that the point was to turn everyone into an entrepreneur, but rather to urge people to do something - anything.