Corporate Eye

Silver Linings

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I’ve started at least five times to write a post on the current wave of bad economic news—specifically, how lay-offs, down-sizing, store closings, and other RIFs affect recruiting. And what that means for the Careers site in particular, and online recruiting efforts in general.

But I decided every time that I should really write about something else first. Here are some of the reasons I kept veering away:

  1. Circumstances are changing almost daily, and it seems unlikely that trends in the employment situation can be predicted accurately.
  2. Problems are so big and so many that it’s difficult to analyze the various factors that might affect specific companies, or even specific industries.
  3. There are assorted viewpoints and theories–and it’s too soon to tell which of them (if any) will prove to accurate or helpful.
  4. And (of course) this is just an unhappy topic to write about . . .

So I was delighted to find a story in this category that is not only clear and simple, but also very heartening. John Zappe’s post on ere.net tells how HR consultant Mark Stelzner recently sent this message to his 700 or so Twitter followers: “Was thinking that if each of us helped just one person find a job, we could start making a dent in unemployment. You game?”

They were. And the result is Job Angels. After just a couple of weeks, this spontaneous movement not only has its own Twitter following, but also groups on Facebook and LinkedIn. A Job Angels website is under construction.

Job Angels is partly a platform to connect people who can help with people who need help–and partly a mission to create awareness and provide hope. Stelzner explains on his blog: “When faced with hundreds of thousands of job losses, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and helpless. But if the idea is for you to simply aid one person –a friend, a family member, a colleague or a complete stranger–that somehow not only seems possible, it seems probable.”

Even when recruiters and other HR professionals don’t have vacancies to fill, or they can’t hire as many people as they once did—they still have expertise and connections that can help people find work. I’ll bet a lot of people were already doing this without even thinking about it! Job Angels provides a way to capture and multiply some of that energy, through the power of social networking.

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Cynthia Giles has followed a serpentine career path from academia to publishing to marketing and design to information technology and corporate communications. There’s plenty of detail about this journey at www.cynthiagiles.com, but briefly--the common theme has been ideas, and how to present them effectively. Along the way, she became an accidental expert on data warehousing and business intelligence, and for the past ten years she has combined corporate contracting with an independent consulting practice that focuses on marketing strategy for smaller businesses and non-profits. Having spent quite a bit of time looking for work, and anywhere from two weeks to two years inside a wide variety of American companies—she has given much thought to what works (and what doesn’t) when it comes to creating a great employment fit.
 
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