Why Building New Career Skills is Essential in this Economy

by SixFigureStart | February 22, 2010

  • My Vault
"New jobs will come open in the U.S. But many will have different skill requirements than the old ones. 'In a sense,' says Gary Burtless, a labor economist at the Brookings Institution, 'every time someone’s laid off now, they need to start all over. They don’t even know what industry they’ll be in next.' And as a spell of unemployment lengthens, skills erode and behavior tends to change, leaving some people unqualified even for work they once did well."
--quote from How a New Jobless Era Will Transform America. (Emphasis added.)

The above quote is just a small excerpt from a four page article in the Atlantic*, but it's the key idea that job seekers should be latching onto in this day and age. No matter how bad the unemployment picture gets, how secure or insecure you are in your job, or how long your hunt goes on, only one thing will guarantee that you will stand out to potential employers: relevant, up to date skills that will be useful on the job. Whether those skills are something that you can acquire on your own time, and alone—like proficiency with social media—or in a college setting, one thing is clear: you can't get by without them. As another passage from the article makes clear, competition for jobs is at all time highs. How high? Experienced workers with degrees from top universities are taking unpaid internships just to get a foot in the door—a situation that's setting back an entire generation of freshly-minted grads into the bargain, and further raising the entry requirements for even the most basic positions.

There's no easy answer. While it may be tough out there, neither your competition nor the companies that have jobs to offer are standing still. You can't afford to either—whether you're currently in a job or not.

* The rest of the article is well worth reading in its entirety, as long as you don't mind the depression that will likely follow.

--Posted by Phil Stott, Vault.com

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