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Young people and recent graduates are hit disproportionately hard by economic crises and recessions. What can you do if you are among them?

 

There are several reasons why being young is particularly challenging during the current economic downturn.

Firstly, there are fewer new job openings. Thus there are more applicants per job, and in the competition, lack of work experience is typically a disadvantage.

Secondly, even if young people find a job, they are unlikely to get as secure a contract as those of earlier times. Therefore, in times of redundancies, senior workers are better protected and the young ones are more vulnerable.

 

Here are three tips for coping with the current situation, and with the future.



Tip 1:  Do not rely on published job openings.

 

Only a small percentage of jobs appear in ads. The reason is, that most employers and managers who need someone new can think of suitable candidates quite fast, and thus do not need to search for someone in anonymous crowds (unless, like some public sector institutions, they are obliged to do so). It is natural for us humans that, if we need something, we prefer asking somebody we know or at least have some connection with. In the case of jobs and employers, it works the same way.

 

So what you can do, is to systematically let the world know that you exist and that you are capable of - and even excellent at - particular tasks. This is networking, of which you’ve often heard. If people know about you and your skills, then they can let you know when someone like you is needed in an organization. Build professional contacts and follow up on them.

 

Seriously consider self-employment, but pay huge attention to exploring the market and developing a solid business plan first. If you have no work experience at all, definitely try to get some first before starting your own business: volunteering and internships are not a waste of time and money here, but practical education for free that will save you lots of costs later on.

 

 

Tip 2: Know and use the advantage of being young.

 

Your advantages include up-to-date knowledge, familiarity with the latest innovations, skill in using social networks and flexibility.

 

More experienced people in the labour market are often under the pressure of their family responsibilities, as well as their need for a high level of security and the wish to maintain their senior level in the working hierarchy. All of this can prevent them from trying out new things and reacting quickly to current trends. Spot your opportunity here.

 

Being fresh from your studies, you probably have up-to-date theoretical knowledge about your field of interest. Now it might be reasonable to focus your attention mainly on practical learning and building contacts. And while others are discussing the merits of Facebook and LinkedIn, you can jump a big step ahead by using  all of your advantages.

 

 

Tip 3: Instead of comparing the present job market with the past one, foresee the future.

 

Watch the trends and don’t be caught by surprise, but be prepared. Many of the coming changes are predictable, because they have already started.

 

Those who adapt quickly, win. Read more about current trends in the labour market here.

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