Oct 252012

The Bureau of Labor Statistics released the Mass Layoffs report this week outlining the trends for Sept. of 2012. You can read the entire report here but the important facts are:

  • Employers took 1,316 mass layoff actions in September involving 122,462 workers
    • Each mass layoff involved at least 50 workers from a single employer.
  • Mass layoff events in September increased by 49 from August
  • In September, 366 mass layoff events were reported in the manufacturing sector resulting in 39,748 initial claims.
  • The manufacturing sector accounted for 29 percent of mass layoff events and 34 percent of associated initial claims in the private economy.
    • Within manufacturing, the numbers of mass layoff claimants were highest in transportation equipment and in food.
  • Among the census regions, the South registered the largest number of initial claims due to mass layoffs in September.
  • Among the states, California recorded the highest number of mass layoff initial claims in September, followed by Pennsylvania and New York.
Oct 212012

Here are some thoughts from Elisa, a professional marketer who recently graduated from the GigSpire Program:

“The GigSpire program provides an individual the ability to understand and intuit their capabilities and the needs and trends of the market across industries. While taking this thorough GigSpire course, I understood what I could offer an employer and became able to show how to help employers understand the same.

The GigSpire Program addresses every aspect I ever considered in the process of furthering my career – plus several I hadn’t thought of previously. More than a ‘soup to nuts’ program, it’s a ‘water to toothpick’ endeavor that enables participants to consider both short and long term plans and decisions.

I would recommend the GigSpire Program to anyone who is looking for insight into their career path.”

Oct 192012

In a report released by the Department of Labor this morning, unemployment claims jumped by 46,000 to reach a staggering 388,000 people filing for initial unemployment claims. The entire report can be read here, but the key points are:

  • The 4-week moving average was 365,500, an increase of 750 from the previous week’s revised average of 364,750. There were 357,562 initial claims in the comparable week in 2011
    • Meaning more layoffs are happening more frequently – GigSpire Comment
  • The total number of people claiming benefits in all programs for the week ending September 29 was 5,001,985, a decrease of 42,664 from the previous week. There were 6,694,493 persons claiming benefits in all programs in the comparable week in 2011.
    • Unfortunately most of the decrease in these numbers is due to people no longer being able to claim unemployment benefits vs. finding work – GigSpire Comment
  • Initial claims for UI benefits by former Federal civilian employees totaled 1,942 in the week ending October 6, an increase of 397 from the prior week.
    • Government work is not as “safe” as many would think – GigSpire Comment
  • There were 3,462 initial claims by newly discharged veterans, an increase of 949 from the preceding week.
    • As troops are brought home from overseas and released from service the number of heroes in our workforce that are unemployed continue to increase – GigSpire Comment

The most important takeaway is that unemployment is a big deal and it can happen at almost any time. The solution is being prepared.

What are you doing to make certain if unemployment finds you, you can find work?

Oct 172012

We get lots of students telling us how difficult it can be to work with recruiters. They don’t understand why calls and emails aren’t returned. Here is some stark reality in the form for a rant from a student and our response. Enjoy!

“Hi GigSpire –
I’m feeling cranky about recruiters today! From my point of view, there is no measurable benefit in working with recruiters at all. I have to be even more of a squeaky wheel to get even a return message, just to hear second-hand about the thoughts of the hiring manager. I send a recruiter an email, and get a reply that indicates I’ll hear from them the next day. Then 3 days go by without a word. When I contact them again, they’ve miraculously *just heard* from the hiring manager… and the message is often that there’s no decision yet. Yes, this is my current experience, but it’s not remotely unique. <sigh>I could get this type of non-information run-around on my own, working directly with the employer. I’m unconvinced that I am being well promoted if this is any indication of their communication habits.

Thank you for being my sounding board. I don’t feel that I can actually tell these recruiters this in the remote chance that there is another position I could jump-through-these-hoops for.

Argh. Later


GigSpire’s Response:

Hi E,

Sorry to hear that you are cranky. You are about to get some information that may not make you feel warm and fuzzy.

Your experience working with recruiters is very common. When working with recruiters and headhunters realize that these people get paid to fill the orders of their clients. It is not their responsibility to market or promote you. You are a commodity, a piece of inventory, that they use to do their business. If their customer wants to purchase someone like you believe me that you will hear from them as they are motivated to close the deal.

It is erroneous to put the responsibility of not getting interviews in the hands of recruiters or headhunters. These organizations are merely channels, much like a job board, to help broadcast your availability. These professionals are aware of opportunities that you have no access to so exposing your candidacy to them is beneficial, but timing is everything. If they don’t have a fit for you, they don’t have a fit for you.

Make sure that you are doing your due diligence in your job search efforts. Ask yourself:

  • Am I attending 1-2 in person networking events per week?
  • Am I having 20 or more conversations with people in the marketplace about the business, the growth trends, and other interesting categories?
  • Am I calling into companies and speaking with peers and would be hiring managers to generate interest and set informational interviews?
  • Am I participating in groups on social media channels and videos, blogs and forums in order to position myself as a subject matter expert?
  • Are you conducting and reaching out to get informational interviews? Remember your goal should be to do 1 to 2 of these every week.
If your answer to the above questions is yes in each category, then something is going wrong and we should talk. I will be happy to talk with you about your efforts and help to redirect, or reposition, your approach.

If your answer to any of the above questions is no, then I hope you understand what you need to do. Remember there is an employer just hoping and praying you are going to walk in the door, help them understand how you will help his or her business and bring you aboard to accomplish those goals.

It’s up to you to walk in the right door.


Oct 132012

I am a believer that America is one of the greatest countries in the world. From a hiring standpoint though, American values get in the way of successful hires.

America Hires Backwards

The majority of the world begins an interview with the idea that a candidate is 0% qualified for the job when he or she walks in the door. During the interview the candidate earns points towards being qualified with her or his answers, essentially moving closer to being 100% qualified for the job.

America is very different. Because we expect the best right away, a candidate walks in with the expectation of being 100% qualified for the job and loses points during the interview, moving in a negative direction.

A 70% fit for a job is very different in the US vs. the rest of the world…


Americans want the biggest and the best, immediately. We expect things to be top quality, all things. From the television we buy, to the way the dry cleaners treat our clothes to just about everything else…if it isn’t the best Americans feel like we have a right to demand the best. That translates to the hiring process as well.

Because of the American value of the “best should be put forth first,” employers want only the best. Most employers want to hire someone who can “hit the ground running” and become an organizational contributor right away. The idea of developing talent, finding people who are close to a great fit, means risk and dollars invested in the person while he or she comes up to speed.

What Does This Mean to a Job Seeker?

A job seeker must understand the expectation of the interviewer to be successful in “selling” him or herself. Knowing that the expectations of interviewers is very high, it become imperative that job seekers be as polished as possible. Polished means:

  • Looking good on paper (i.e. your resume) communicating value and an ability to accomplish tasks
  • Looking good on the internet or social media, meaning content about a job seeker on the internet should echo the resume and avoid polarizing topics that could alienate an interviewer
  • Providing good answers to interview questions, which means job seekers should think about answers and how to relay experiences effectively and then practice that answer so that it comes out naturally during an interview
  • Present a professional image meaning that personal grooming and clothing is neat, clean and neutral during interviews

Being polished comes through preparation. Professional athletes, military and emergency personnel, entertainers and most professionals practice their profession in order to execute at a high level when it matters the most. The same can be said for the job seeker. Prepare in advance through research, strategic thinking, working with others to refine your message and practicing your answers to job search questions.

Become a “professional” job seeker until you close that job.


Oct 092012

The Bureau of Labor Statistics released The Employment Situation report for September of 2012 last week. Overall the news was better than anticipated, at least at the surface. The problem is if you read the report (found here) you will notice there are a significant number of unemployed people not counted for the purpose of this report. Before we give you the summary highlights we want to bring these groups to your attention.

“The number of persons employed part time for economic reasons (sometimes referred to as involuntary part-time workers) rose from 8.0 million in August to 8.6 million in September. These individuals were working part time because their hours had been cut back or because they were unable to find a full-time job. (See table A-8.)
In September, 2.5 million persons were marginally attached to the labor force, essentially unchanged from a year earlier. (These data are not seasonally adjusted.) These individuals were not in the labor force, wanted and were available for work, and had looked for a job sometime in the prior 12 months. They were not counted as unemployed because they had not searched for work in the 4 weeks preceding the survey. (See table A-16.)
Among the marginally attached, there were 802,000 discouraged workers in September, a decline of 235,000 from a year earlier. (These data are not seasonally adjusted.) Discouraged workers are persons not currently looking for work because they believe no jobs are available for them. The remaining 1.7 million persons marginally attached to the labor force in September had not searched for work in the 4 weeks preceding the survey for reasons such as school attendance or family responsibilities. (See table A-16.)”

Just something to keep in mind. Add all these people to the 12+ million more people not included in this report and we still have over 25 MILLION people unemployed.

Here’s what happened in September:

The unemployment rate declined by 0.3 percentage point to 7.8 percent in September. The number of unemployed persons, at 12.1 million, decreased by 456,000 in September.

Total employment rose by 873,000

Employment rose in:

  • Health care added 44,000 jobs in ambulatory health care services (+30,000) and hospitals (+8,000). Over the past year, employment in health care has risen by 295,000.
  • Transportation and warehousing increased by 17,000 jobs with gains in transit and ground passenger transportation (+9,000) and in warehousing and storage (+4,000).
  • Employment in financial activities edged up in September (+13,000), reflecting modest job growth in credit intermediation (+6,000) and real estate (+7,000).

Job Losses:

  • Manufacturing employment edged down in September (-16,000) in computer and electronic products (-6,000) and in printing and related activities (-3,000).
Oct 022012

Just a quick note to stress that staying positive and being inspired is important when a person is on job search. You must continue working hard to find employment and believe you will succeed, which isn’t always easy to do. We recommend that students find something personal to motivate them during the tough times. Think of it as an re-charging station.

Be sure to put this re-charger in a place you can see it multiple times per day. The kitchen, your bathroom or the refrigerator are the most popular locations. Look at your re-charger multiple times per day; use it to stay inspired.

This re-charger can be anything of value to the individual. Pictures of family members or vacation spots are common. My personal re-charger is a poem called the Desiderata. I am sharing it with you below because it helps me. Hope you find something that helps you.

“Go placidly amidst the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible without surrender be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even the dull and the ignorant; they too have their story.
Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexatious to the spirit. If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain or bitter; for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time. Exercise caution in your business affairs; for the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals; and everywhere life is full of heroism.
Be yourself. Especially, do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is as perennial as the grass. Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth. Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.
Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should. Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be, and whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul. With all its shams, drudgery, and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world.
Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.”