Our U.S. job market is behaving much like the mythical Minotaur – half human, half beast .
The beastly part rears up and swallows people’s livelihoods and spits them into a sea of 14 million joblessness Americans, and employers that still are hiring at a tepid pace.
The human and hopeful half gives some of the lucky and incredibly talented few multiple job offers, big raises and even some signing bonuses. My latest piece in Fortune magazine looks at the return of the multiple offer for managers and executives.
“I’m looking forward to this getting up to a fevered pitch,” said Brian Sullivan, CEO of CT Partners, an executive recruiting firm. “I hope it cascades down to middle management,” but perhaps it may not.
More than half (56 percent) of executives predict shortages of executive talent worldwide, according to a report from Deloitte. That is second only to the shortage in research and development talent. Other high demand jobs include people who work in product development or R&D, CPAs with tax experience, sales executives, Java J2E software engineers and others, according to Deloitte’s Talent Edge report.
So how can you put yourself among the hopeful human side of this crazy economy? I asked that of a few recruiters and their advice, much of which appears in my new piece – “The return of the multiple job offer” in the July 25 issue of Fortune, is also worth sharing here:
Kim Shanahan, a Korn Ferry partner in suburban Washington, D.C. said it helps if you are in “a particular high-demand function” and have a track record of exceptional leadership and a reputation built on credibility, a strong network and some awards.
Demonstrate your competency but also show you’re a good fit for the hiring organization’s culture,, said Mark Anderson, CEO of ExecuNet. Companies want leaders who manage teams well and who develop integrated cross-functional solutions. “They’re definitely looking for super women or super men.”
Sullivan calls them the “high-performing rock stars… They stay diligent as a son of a gun to all aspects of the business.”
Let’s be clear that senior managers – or anyone receiving multiple job offers – are the rare exception; still you can learn to be in higher demand.
Here then are five of the attributes that may make you a multiple job offer candidate:
- Incredibly well connected.
- Exceptional expertise, pedigree, credentials – and then use them in the right companies.
- Persistent and relentlessly focused. On your career, on your job search, on your future.
- Big picture vision but able to hone in on small details too for implementation.
- Strong team leadership, works well with peers and those above and below you. Show your success in developing and mentoring people.
You may need to cultivate some of these over time. Use the next three to four months when job prospects are still hit and miss to grow your network to include a few executive recruiters as well as the key players in your industry. Join your professional association and volunteer for a committee or board seat. Help plan a panel or seminar – and make sure you send personal invitations to some of the big-wigs who later on could recommend you for job openings.
Work incredibly hard and well inside your organization and make sure your star shines brightly outside it too. Then even if you don’t land multiple offers, you’ll be so valuable that you’re a natural to be promoted.