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 As a job seeker, if you take everything the media has to say about the current job market literally, you’ll quite probably feel like skulking away and hiding in the nearest hole until things get better. I’m here to tell you, though, if you are job hunting, you shouldn’t let what you read or hear in the media paralyze you in your efforts! There still are genuine job opportunities in today’s market!

Essentially, here is the latest “news” on the job market being reported by the media:

Only 18,000 Jobs Added in June, Unemployment Rises to 9.2%

Now the rest of the story

photoWow! Almost makes you want to throw up your hands and surrender, doesn’t it?! However, as the late radio personality Paul Harvey used to say at the top of his broadcasts, “And now, the rest of the story.”

The “rest of the story” in this case involves some job market statistics that you’ll hardly, if ever, see reported by the mass media:

• According to the news agency Reuters, job cuts thus far for 2011 are down nearly 21 percent from the first five months of 2010.
• Whereas the general unemployment rate rose to 9.2% in June, and only 18,000 jobs were created, the unemployment rate in the management/professional sector actually fell on a year-over-year basis, going from 4.9% to 4.7%. Of particular note is that employment among those with a 4-year-degree rose by 87,000 jobs in June, and the unemployment rate for that population fell slightly, from 4.5% to 4.4%.
• The JOLTS (Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey) report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics ( shows that nearly 4 million jobs have been filled each and every month since April 2010. At the end of April 2011, even with 4 million positions having been filled that month, there were still 3 million positions left unfilled! That is a total of 7 million openings in April 2011 alone!
(On a personal note, and as I mentioned in last week’s blog, my recruiting firm currently is working on filling over 35 open positions—the most openings at any one time since 2008.)

The workforce churn

What we’re experiencing in the job market today is referred to as “the churn.” That’s when the currently employed move to new jobs within the existing workforce. So, companies are hiring. It’s just that they are not experiencing any net increase in job openings. That explains how, even though there was only a net gain of 18,000 jobs in the latest jobs report, there were actually still 7 million job openings. (Coincidentally, with close to 70% of the currently employed saying they would like to seek a new position, there appears to be no immediate end in sight for this phenomenon.)

Now, don’t misunderstand me here. Nothing I am saying in this blog is intended to downplay the brutality of today’s job market. As I have stated in previous blogs, most of the job openings in today’s market are not advertised, they are not posted online. It is not easy to gain access to them, but then again, it certainly isn’t impossible to gain access to them, either.

One of the principal reasons we wrote and published “‘Headhunter’ Hiring Secrets: The Rules of the Hiring Game Have Changed . . . Forever!” was to show job seekers how they could, in essence, learn how to become their own “headhunter.” So they could learn how to brand themselves the way a “headhunter” would go about branding them. And that’s precisely how a job seeker today must market himself/herself, i.e., the same way a “headhunter” would market him or her if they want to be successful in landing their next job!

Bring top talent to hiring manager’s attention

Here is how I, as a professional “headhunter,” go about connecting top talent with top companies. In addition to filling positions my client companies give me by going after (“headhunting”) talent, I also market top talent to companies. I do not look for open positions. Rather, I bring top talent to the attention of potential hiring managers! Does this approach work? You bet it does. I recently placed a candidate after marketing her to only 17 companies. Another recruiter in our office has marketed a candidate to only 4 companies and we are now in the process of setting up an interview.

Do not apply, market  yourself

What that means for you is this: The most powerful key to new job opportunities at this phase in our economy is to market yourself—NOT apply to positions online. Sure it takes guts to do this. It is far easier to sit behind the safety of a computer screen. But when you do that, the silence is often deafening. Stories abound of people who have applied to hundreds of positions online and have never heard anything back from anyone. Make sure you’re not among this group of “job seekers.”

Breakaway from being a job seeker

To get started with the process of marketing yourself the way a “headhunter” would market you, I suggest you do the following:

  • Know exactly what it is you can do for a potential employer and be able to brand yourself as someone who can make them money or save them money.
  • Identify the companies you want to work for (best source is
  • Use the LinkedIn “hack” to find the people to send your direct mail letter to.
  • Create a powerful direct mail letter that brands you as someone who brings immediate value to the company and hiring manager. Here is the link to the certified letter we sent to the 17 companies referenced above that got the person placed:
    • Follow up with a properly worded voice mail and email.
    • Continue with a “touch plan.” (See “‘Headhunter’ Hiring Secrets)
    • Land the interview.
    • Learn how to “lead the witness.” (See “‘Headhunter’ Hiring Secrets)
    • Avoid casting “shadows on the wall.” (See “‘Headhunter’ Hiring Secrets)
    • Win the job!

Obstacles or opportunities?

Easy? Of course not. But it’s certainly do-able! And it works! It’s important to understand that none of the approaches I recommend in this or any other blogs (or in “‘Headhunter’ Hiring Secrets, for that matter!) is based upon theory. I am in the job market each and every business day and I know what works, as well as what does not work! Since I am 100% commissioned, if I am wrong, or if I merely “guess” at what might work, then I would have been out of business years ago. (Instead, I am rapidly approaching my first decade in the recruiting business.)

It seems to me that the choice today is quite clear: You can either believe that, according to the media, “the sky is falling” and continue to wring your hands and lament the horrible state of the job market OR you can learn how to effectively overcome the various obstacles thrown in your path and become the candidate of choice for the job of your choice!


Skip Freeman is the author of “Headhunter” Hiring Secrets: The Rules of the Hiring Game Have Changed . . . Forever! and is the President and Chief Executive Officer of The HTW Group (Hire to Win), an Atlanta, GA, Metropolitan Area Executive Search Firm. Specializing in the placement of sales, engineering, manufacturing and R&D professionals, he has developed powerful techniques that help companies hire the best and help the best get hired.