The job market in Pakistan is, and has been for some time now, completely flat. On a yearly basis, my team and I survey the Pakistani talent market and assess its turbulence. Well, at the moment we are stuck in the ‘doldrums’ (a low-pressure area around the equator where there is almost no wind and sailors are stuck for days trying to get through). There is no movement whatsoever as companies are very reluctant to hire. Managers are holding on to their seats with all their might and if someone moves, companies often decide not to replace them, and do without the position.
A lot of people are looking for jobs and trust me, times are tough. The number of resumes that we as headhunters receive from hopeful candidates is overwhelming. Some of them we can help, some of them we advice and quite a few of them we have to disappoint.
Being in the headhunting business you sometimes get the strangest requests. I am bombarded with emails that start with “Hello Sir, please give me a job in Dubai. I am ready to start next week’. It’s unbelievable the expectations that people have (as if I am running a butcher shop from which people want to choose which piece of meat they want.) I understand their bluntness, but instead of people making an effort trying to understand what it takes to land them a job in their favorite destination, they just demand it be done.
However, it is not something that can be achieved with a simple click of a button. So here are five tips to fast-track your career when there is no clear career opportunities on the horizon:
1. Know where you want to go: Be clear on what you love to do, where you can be the best in the world, where and how you can perform the job you love to do, how you can add value to companies, how you position yourself and what differentiates you from others. As the Alice in Wonderland saying goes “if you don’t know where you are going, every road will take you there.”
2. Take ownership of your own career: If you can’t find an immediate opportunity, prepare yourself and start learning for the job you want to do tomorrow. As the saying goes ‘luck is where opportunity meets preparation’. (Tomorrow Is Here Today)
3. Take initiative: suggest to your boss that you want to become responsible for this specific project. Don’t expect more money or a promotion, just do it for your own development.
4. Read, study and learn: Read a book a month, make summaries of what you read and share it with your colleagues. The best way to retain information is by teaching others. (Teach Yourself By Teaching Others)
5. Network, Network, Network: People that are able to land jobs are people who have a tremendous network and know how to use it. Don’t abuse it, use it.
Hopefully the economy will turn, companies and foreign investors will gain confidence and start investing and opportunities will come. But until that moment, get yourself in shape and be ready to ride that wave.
– Paul Keijzer