May 24, 2011 | Suzanne Shaffer | Leave a comment You probably fit into one of these categories: currently employed, seeking employment, recently graduated, or still in college. Wherever you are in the employment market, you face obstacles to overcome and frustrations with the current job outlook and the future. It’s no surprise that graduates will face the daunting task this summer of searching for jobs, but everyone within the workforce faces uncertainty and concern about your current and/or future career options. You can bury your head in the sand and choose to ignore that these are uncertain times; or you can spend your summer making some positive changes and work toward stabilizing your future. It simply requires a determination to effect change and the necessary information to make the change. Depending on your status within the marketplace, your path to change should be catered to your individual circumstances. Currently Employed If you are currently employed, you should ask yourself this question: Am I secure in my current position? Most companies are looking for ways to cut costs, save money, and streamline their workforce. You can increase your value to your company by pursuing additional education related to your career or position. Studies have shown that employers value employees who make the decision to return to college or seek professional development while on the job and many times will reimburse the employee for the education. Seeking Employment There are 5.5 million Americans currently unemployed and the number of low income jobs in the United States has risen steadily over the past 30 years and now account for 41 percent of all jobs in this country. Being one of the unemployed means you are looking for ways to find a job and because of the high numbers may have to think outside the box when conducting a job search. The old-fashioned ways of “beating the pavement”, searching the classifieds, and even posting your resume online may not be as effective. Job seekers are spending more and more time using social media (LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, blogs, and company websites) to search for job opportunities and networking. These tools can result in unearthing jobs that aren’t normally posted online or in the classifieds. Recently Graduated The media has been flooded with news about the recent pool of college graduates. Here’s the good news: the private sector is now hiring. According to a recent article in the Wall Street Journal: Employers plan to hire 19% more new graduates this year than in 2010, according to a survey by the National Association of Colleges and Employers. That means students were more likely to have offers as they head toward graduation. Among college seniors who applied for positions, the survey said, 41% had an offer this year, up from 38% last year. But the job market remains uneven. Most hiring is in the private sector, while openings in the public sector, such as teaching, remain scarce. And the influx of another crop of graduates is making things harder for graduates of recent years who are still trying to find positions in their desired fields. Here’s the bad news: many graduates are without job prospects and forced to move back home. High student loan debt has also prompted many graduates to move home, even though they are employed, to save money and pay down their debt. Graduation should be an exciting time, but the competitive job market has graduates from previous years also clamoring for the same jobs. If you have recently graduated and find yourself in this position, consider taking the following steps: Make sure your resume is current, readable, posted online, and provides employers with a snapshot of the kind of employee you will be Network in person and online using social media Consider an internship or job shadowing in your particular field of expertise Use every opportunity to communicate that you are job hunting Never forget that while you are job searching–your job hunt is your job Still in College If you are in college, you are in the perfect position to use your summer to boost your resume by adding internships and job experience. While doing this, you can also network with potential employers about hiring after graduation. Many internships or summer jobs often result in job offers after graduation. Since many college students spend hours using social media, use that time to tweak your LinkedIn profile, make connections on Twitter, and clean up your Facebook page. Using summer to increase your job security, secure employment, or work toward future employment is an excellent way to spend your time. You will improve your quality of life and look toward future summer vacations with anticipation once you are employed and enjoying vacation as a valued job perk.